Ever since the pandemic has been declared, a lot has been said and written about the virus, it’s treatment and the possible measures to prevent it. The front-line warriors are fighting hard at their end to save the nation, while the citizens are expected to stay at home to stay safe. But the way cases have been increasing on a daily basis is unimaginable and alarming. Not only did this pandemic trigger our existential questions but it also has altered how we live our lives. But we applaud the front-line workers for putting their duty over their own health and combat the pandemic. Let’s how Dr. Pankaj Shukla, Chief Medical and Health Officer, explains the pandemic situation in MP.
How do you segregate the pandemic and general patients?
“We have issued certain guidelines and the ones with respiratory symptoms are asked to go through the screening process and are sent to the different OPD, where we have specialized tests for them. Then after analyzing the symptoms properly and checking their travel history, they are advised when to come back. We don’t mix the pandemic patients with the general ones. The non-pandemic patients are allowed to further go to the general OPD and specialized doctors for the treatment. We believe every patient can be a pandemic patient, who can widespread a virus, so we have instructed the healthcare personnel to carefully observe with personal protective measures and wear their PPE. We sanitize the hospital 3 times a day, and as and when required with alcohol-based sanitizers.”
As reported, is there a short of PPE supply?
“Maximum things come from China. Now that China is closed, we are producing it globally. As for the private sector, the state govt is planning to supply. Some states have already started producing their own like Indore and Bhopal but for the quality check, the material is sent to Gwalior. Only after the QC approval, it gets manufactured.”
Are the cloth masks effective?
“They are 70% effective, not 100%. But if the patients and the ones they’re coming in contact with, both wears it, then it is almost 90-95%.”
How are the doctors facing physical and mental challenges dealing with it?
“The main issue right now is the extra working hours. So, we have divided the team into core and non-core workers which gives them time to rest. If they are directly involved with the pandemic patients, so they work for 7 days and then are quarantined for 14 days.”
“During the lockdown, we are preparing the hospitals to deal with the next stage which we are expecting to hit by the end of the year. The vaccine might also come at the year-end. At present the pandemic patients in our hospital are minimum but when the lockdown is lifted, there are chances in an increase in number of patients. So, we have to be prepared. We are making strategies for home quarantine for symptomatic patients so that we can deal with a large number of patients.” He continued, “Until the vaccine is made, we have to deal with the virus using our basic tools i.e., hand washing, social distancing, and hygiene can prevent us from getting infected.”
What according to you govt should have done to control the pandemic apart from the lockdown?
“With the resources and manpower we have, the govt is doing perfectly in managing the situation in our country.”
Are patients going through mental trauma or stress?
“Yes, we are dealing with the patients going through mental stress and we have counselors available for them. We provide them with the required medicine too.”
Plasma Therapy is considered to be an effective treatment for the pandemic patients, which aims at using antibodies from the blood of a recovered patient, to treat those who are critically ill after being infected with the virus. The recovered patient’s antibodies, with the specific ability to fight this novel disease, will be injected into someone under treatment. “Delhi initially had positive results but later claimed that the antibodies do not advocate 100% accuracy. So it is doubtful. It may or may not work. It won’t harm the patient so there’s no negative effect of treating them with it.”
Any tips for the home-quarantined people on how can they sanitize their home?
“The virus can maximumly survive up to 72 hours if it’s on the surface or in our home, other than the human body and culture medium, where it can survive up to days. For air, it can survive up to 4 or 6 hours. If no infected person has entered your house, then there’s no need to sanitize it but cleaning and restricting entry of outsiders in the house is a must. The groceries can be kept for 72 hours before use and the vegetables can be kept in saline water for a few hours.”
The only way to curb the virus is by maintaining social distancing and the way most of the citizens of our nation are following the lockdown is highly appreciated. In the end, we salute the front-line warriors for standing there as our shield during the virus attack and we couldn’t be more grateful for the sacrifices that they have done to save us.