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Karnataka to use services of 1 lakh medical, nursing students to combat Covid second wave

According to Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan, who also heads the ministerial taskforce, the students will also be provided with incentives for their service.

A patient on oxygen at a Bengaluru hospital. (Photo: PTI)

In a bid to address the shortage of medical professionals in the state to combat the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Karnataka government has decided to rope in nearly a lakh students pursuing medical, paramedical, and nursing courses in the state for Covid duties.

According to Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan, who also heads the ministerial taskforce, the students will also be provided with incentives for their service.

“As many as 17,797 medical students including interns, PG, final year students will be deployed for Covid duties across the state as part of their final postings. While the nursing department has 45,470 students, services of students pursuing dental (2538), Ayush (9654), and pharmacy (9936) courses will also be sought. We nearly have 40,000 students in related streams as well,” he highlighted.

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Ashwathnarayan remarked, “With this, the strength of our medical staff will be strengthened further with nearly a lakh more people. These students will be deployed based on the demand by hospitals and shall be provided with incentives.”

The task force has also maintained that final year students will be deployed for tele-triaging and to attend to mildly symptomatic Covid patients. “Without any restrictions, transferring interns between colleges and hospitals will be allowed,” the committee noted.

Earlier last week, cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty had warned that once the ongoing problem of the oxygen crisis that Covid patients are facing across the country is tackled, the next big challenge will be the shortage of doctors and nurses to treat patients.

Later, the Centre on Monday announced that final-year MBBS students, as well as BSc and GNM-qualified nurses, can be deployed for Covid duties. It added that the medical personnel completing 100 days of Covid duties will be given priority in forthcoming regular government recruitments.

The move is expected to reduce the workload on the existing doctors and nurses who are treating Covid patients now.

Meanwhile, Karnataka reported its highest single-day spike across parameters since Covid-19 began on Monday. While 346 more deaths were linked to the pandemic by the Department of Health and Family Welfare from across the state, 50,112 new cases were identified. The test positivity rate had also risen to 32.28 per cent while the active caseload was at 4.87 lakh. The state also reported its highest single-day recoveries at 26,841 in the last 24 hours.

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