After the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) reached out to an association of nurses in Kerala, seeking to appoint nursing staff in civic hospitals, the Pune administration is following in its footsteps. Authorities are trying hard to get ‘trained nurses’ who have recently returned from the middle-east due to the Covid-19 crisis and may be looking for job opportunities within India.
The Maharashtra government has also sought 50 trained specialist doctors and 100 nurses from Kerala on a “temporary basis”.
Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said shortage of medical support staff was a source of concern, as nurses were leaving the city and doctors were citing this as a reason to shut clinics or reduce work at hospitals.
Mhaisekar said he has held a meeting with members of the India Malayalee Council and discussed the issue with them. He said that he requested members of the Council to persuade the nurses who are quitting or want to quit to stay back. The possibility of roping in trained nurses who returned from middle-east recently was also discussed.
“I have had an interaction with members of the Malayalee Council and we were told that a lot of nurses were leaving the middle-east and coming back to Kerala. So, we are in talks with the community leaders and have told them to convey to the nurses back in Kerala that if they are willing to come to Pune, we will be welcoming them. We will provide them proper PPEs and other necessities,” said Mhaisekar.
He also warned that doctors and private medical staffers, who are found to abscond from their duties, will be liable to be punished under the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act.
As there was likely to be a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, with the peak expected in June and July, preparations were underway to handle the situation, said the divisional commissioner. A total of 23,00 ambulances are on standby, he added.
Mhaisekar said since most deaths caused by Covid-19 are of patients with co-morbidities, the municipal commissioners of various cities in Pune Division, including Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, have been asked to launch a programme under which health check-up camps will be conducted across the cities for the elderly and those with co-morbidities.
“Under this plan, municipal bodies will hold camps for elderly citizens as well as those with diabetes, kidney issues, cardiac problems, blood pressure and tuberculosis, to make sure that they are taking proper medicines. If need be, tests will be conducted on them and proper medical guidance will be provided to ensure that they remain good health,” said Mhaisekar.
The district administration will also launch an awareness campaign in rural parts of the district – which until now have seen few cases – so that during monsoon season, when the incidence of flu and flu-like diseases increases, people do not panic, mistaking their symptoms for Covid-19.
“During monsoon, water-borne or insect-borne diseases, especially those with flu-like symptoms, will crop up in the usual fashion. It’s likely that these might cause panic in rural areas which, so far, have fewer Covid-19 cases, due to similarity of symptoms. We will launch an awareness campaign aimed at rural areas to avoid such a situation,” said District Collector Naval Kishore Ram.
District authorities have also asked private hospitals to share information on the number of beds at their facilities and if the private hospital fails to provide correct information, action will be taken against them, said Ram.
According to available data, there are 8,673 beds at Covid care centres and 1,156 beds at hospitals dedicated for coronavirus cases. “For those who do not have symptoms but are positive, we have made arrangements for at least 18,000 beds at the Covid care facilities,” said Ram.
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