Amid the surge in coronavirus cases in Haryana, state health authorities have focused on collection of samples through kiosks to mitigate the chance of infection, especially to health workers. The officials believe that the initiative will also encourage people who suspect they have contracted the Covid-19, but were not going to hospital fearing infection, to get tested.
Haryana Health Services Director Dr Sonia Trikha told The Indian Express on Monday that nearly 80 per cent Covid samples are now being collected through the kiosks only. “Now, we have started setting up such kiosks at the level of community health centres (CHSs) and primary health centres (PHCs) too so that villagers don’t have to visit hospitals in towns or cities to get their samples collected in case of symptoms of coronavirus,” said Dr Trikha. Within a week, from June 19 to 25, as many as 34,090 samples were sent for testing and 3,245 patients tested positive.
“We have seen some people crying while their samples were being collected. They would ask us what would happen to their children if they test positive,” recalled Dr Sangeeta Goyal, deputy civil surgeon, Ambala.
Earlier, health teams used to take samples from patients in rooms, gurdwaras or open spaces. “In the summer, it’s too difficult to take samples while wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) kits. Furthermore, if a patient sneezes during the exercise of sample collection, the entire kit has to be changed. This was a very risky affair,” said Goyal.
However, in the new concept of kiosks, the health worker doesn’t have to come in contact with the patients. “He/she just brings out his/her hands out of the kiosks to take the samples from the patient. As there is no chance of contact with the patients, the health worker inside the kiosks is very protected. He/she can perform his/her duties even without wearing a PPE kit but must wear a mask, gloves and cap. But to ensure safety point of view, the inner and outer area of the kiosks is sanitised after collection of every sample,” said a health official.
Initially, the kiosks were set up at main government hospitals in towns or cities only. With the increasing level of satisfaction among health workers, the same were set up at the village level too. Director General of Haryana Health Services Dr Suraj Bhan Kamboj said they have such kiosks fitted in mobile vans too. Sometimes samples are taken while sitting inside the ambulance too. Under this concept, two holes are made in the back of the ambulance so that the health worker doesn’t have to come in the contact of the patients while collecting samples.
Now, health teams go to shops or homes of corona suspects to collect samples when the movement of ambulances or mobile vans is not possible. “We try to collect most of the samples from the kiosks only,” said Dr Kamboj. The sample collection kiosks have reportedly been popular in Kerala too.
With the state witnessing a surge in the cases, state authorities are trying their best to prevent the spread of the virus, which is mainly possible by ensuring that health workers and others don’t get infected during the process of taking samples.
Health authorities have already initiated the process of making a separate Covid wing in hospitals. It will not only mitigate the chances of infections to non-Covid patients but also minimise the fears of patients who are avoiding visiting hospitals for different illnesses.
Dr Sonia Trikha said separate wings for covid patients have already been set up in government hospitals of Panchkula and Ambala while the process is on for government hospitals of Ambala and Gurgaon.
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