With Mumbai emerging as the city with the highest count of coronavirus positive cases, former Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner N Ramaswami, currently on deputation to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), speaks to The Indian Express on readying an additional pool of health workers and revamping Seven Hills hospital to tackle the pandemic. Ramaswami is in charge of revamping Seven Hills, convalescent plasma project and training of medical students in Mumbai.
What was the reason behind training and appointing nursing and MBBS students, as well as interns in the coronavirus fight?
All the training is basically aimed at handling the surge capacity. In case the numbers go up and beyond a certain limit, we should have adequate manpower. As a precautionary measure, we are readying doctors, nurses, interns in advance. Third year nursing students are already placed in Seven Hills hospital and MBBS students are being used in survey and contact tracing. Resident doctors will be appointed in Covid care centres, treatment facilities.
How many interns, resident doctors, MBBS and nursing students were given training?
The training has been completed as of now. We trained second and third year nursing students of all five nursing colleges, then fourth and fifth year MBBS students, interns and resident doctors as per the Covid protocol. At least 300 second year nursing students, 213 interns, 40 fifth year MBBS students and 1,709 resident doctors have been deputed in KEM, Sion, Nair and Dr RN Cooper hospital. Around 235 nurses joined duty under senior nurses on Friday.
What does the training include?
This is a full-day course on Covid protocol. All deans of four medical colleges came together and formulated a syllabus for students. We taught them about personal safety, patient management and coronavirus treatment protocol based on ICMR’s guidelines, recent developments. Especially nursing students and resident doctors were trained in handling of ventilators. In case of critical patients and their care, handling of ventilators is of utmost importance. If the college had ventilators, hands-on training was given. Up to 1,709 resident doctors were trained in use of ventilators at respective hospitals. Others — nursing students, interns and medical students — were given a day-long training at BMC’s training centre in Borivali, in batches following social distancing norms.
Is there any plan to add more medical students to the workforce?
Next week we are planning to train dental students also. Even others, who are joining as volunteers, will be trained. Twenty-five Bachelor of Medical Science students have also been approached for training. The Indian Dental Association has also approached for training of 75-100 BDS doctors for Covid-19 treatment. We will give training as per demand.
There is fear among health workers, sanitation staff of contracting the infection.
There are two-three issues. One is, if someone is going to hospital and attending to patients, locals/neighbours express fear. Now, as per the BMC policy, we are providing accommodation in good hotels to doctors and staff. There existed some fear, but we have to convince them and provide infrastructure and whatever is needed. We have accommodation quarters for our nurses and hospital staff at Seven Hills. Eighty are currently occupied and 250 more are refurbished and will be ready soon. There are two hotels nearby which are also used by staff.
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