April 29, 2021 12:36:12 am
The World Health Organisation on Wednesday said that filling critical gaps in essential medical supplies and hospital capacities should be top priority as India battles a huge surge in Covid-19 cases.
“The current rapid surge of Covid-19 cases has put immense pressure on the health systems, already overburdened since the start of the pandemic. We need to act with speed, expand hospital capacities and equip them with medical supplies, most needed to save lives,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region, in a statement.
In addition, health authorities must emphasise on rational use of drugs and oxygen, to ensure life-saving interventions are made available to only those who need it, he said.
Supporting India in these challenging times, WHO is procuring laboratory supplies, including 1.2 million reagents, to meet the huge demand and need for testing.
To make available additional hospital beds and critical equipment, WHO is procuring mobile field hospitals with capacity of 20-30 beds, which could be set up in the most affected areas The bed capacity at these field hospitals can be increased to a maximum of 50, if needed, without impacting infection prevention and control protocols, and water and sanitation. WHO is also chartering flights to bring in 4,000 oxygen concentrators to help meet the increased demand.
Dr Khetrapal Singh said the over 2,600 WHO technical staff, working on various programmes such as polio, TB and NTD, have been repurposed to support pandemic response in India. In the recent surge, they are supporting rapid situational analyses, and implementation of tailored responses. “Together, we must do all we can to halt the current Covid-19 surge,” said Dr Khetrapal Singh.
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