Kohima, April 23: Nagaland Government and the Health and Family Welfare Department is making all out efforts to address the various challenges faced during with COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of the citizens with the strong support from all sections of the society.
Amidst the nationwide lockdown in the fight against COVID-19 completing a month today, Secretary for Health and Family Welfare (HFW), Kesonyu Yhome briefing media persons in the HFW Directorate here said, the State Government is giving full support to the Department in the expeditious completion of the bio safety level-3 (BSL-3) lab.
He asserted that the Department is pressing hard to enable the State to begin testing samples for Covid19 in Nagaland within 20 days from today.
He said that the COVID-19 crisis has brought to light gaps in the healthcare delivery systems including infrastructural and human resource constraints in the State.
Yhome also updated about the items received by the State till date which includes 56,000 PPEs; 2,76,000 triple layer masks; 42,000 N95 masks; 11 ICU ventilators;09 transport ventilators and 50 C-PAP machines; 1007 B type Oxygen cylinders; 119 A Type Nitrous Cylinders and 54 Jumbo Oxygen Cylinders through various consignments.
On the complaints about the poor quality of PPEs provided to the healthcare workers, Principal Director of HFW Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie accepted that the initial supply of PPEs was to make stop gap arrangement for demonstration and other purposes but not for use by health workers.
He said that though the first distribution was of the old stock available supplied by the Central government during the HIV and H1N1 epidemic between the period from 2007 to 2017 and they are still usable.
However, on the quality of the PPEs, he said there is no answer but the respective COVID hospitals can get those PPEs replaced with the new ones that is COVID-19 specific.
He also clarified that the level of PPEs are different for all health workers from those directly working with the positive patient to other staff.
Yhome informed that the Department is also collaborating with the Times Group of India, on a Project called Project Step One to reach out to the citizens who requires medical consultation over the phone. Citizens requiring such assistance can call the following State Toll Free Helpline 1800 345 0001 and they will be guided to the appropriate consultant from a pool of doctors from across India depending upon the caller’s query.
This facility will be available to citizens of the State in a few days for which a separate notice shall be issued separately, he said.
Disposal of dead bodies: On the fears of spread of virus through dead bodies of patients undergoing treatment for COVID-19, Dr Suokhrie asserted all protocol measures with be undertaken before the patient’s dead body is handed over to the family members, if they want to take it away. In case the body is unclaimed, it would be disposed off by the District Task Force after completing all protocols.
Reiterating that COVID-19 spreads through droplet infection and affects our bodies is through mouth, nose and eyes, he said dead body will not talk, cough and sneeze and therefore even if the virus is inside the dead body it won’t harm anymore.
The body will be sanitized and also contaminated area and if the family wants to see the body we will allow that, after which it will be packed in a water proof and leakage proof bag before being put in the coffin. After that the coffin would be sanitized and also kept for 30 minute before final disposal.
Once sealed, we request the family member not to re-open it again, Dr Suokhrie said, adding that once buried the virus also dies with it and does not have any environmental biohazard.
On the reports of healthcare workers facing problems from security personnel while to and fro duty, Yhome appealed to all to allow the healthcare service personnel of both Government and Private healthcare establishments to discharge their duties without any obstruction or hindrance either within the premises of clinical establishments or on the road and streets.
Replying on a query whether proper coordination meeting is being held concerning the functioning of healthcare providers with police and administration, Dr Suokhrie said regular meetings are being held and everything is well understood at the officers’ level but problem has been with the sansitization and educating jawans becomes very important.
He said that the DGP and other officers are taking care of the issues and started proper sansitization of the jawans, and hopefully things will improve.
Asked on the shortage of generic medicines, Yhome clarified that medicines are already available in stock in Dimapur but with the lockdown and containment zone issues there was some gap in its distribution to the retailers. He asserted that the general medicines will be available in pharmacies and hospitals within next two days. (Page News Service)