The Pune Municipal Corporation’s effort to launch a mobile dispensary service, to visit vulnerable areas and check if local residents are showing symptoms of COVID-19, have paid off, as the service has managed to identify 38 patients since it was launched on April 1
The initiative was launched in association with Bhartiya Jain Sanghatana and Force Motors.
Through the mobile dispensaries, which usually visit congested areas such as slums, the PMC has been able to carry out medical check-ups of 42,631 residents. “A total of 695 residents were referred for COVID-19 tests after they showed symptoms of the infection, and 38 have tested positive,” said a civic officer.
What the vans do:
After the mobile van reaches a spot, its public address system is used to inform local residents of its arrival in the area, and that it will offer free-of-cost medicines. Local residents who undergo a medical check-up at the van are referred for COVID-19 tests if they show symptoms of the infection. Each of the 15 dispensaries has a team of medical professional, including a doctor and a nurse.
The dispensary checks for fever, cough, cold, body ache and running nose. The doctors don’t make home visits and social distancing is maintained by those who line up to get treated.
If any patients is found to have symptoms of coronavirus, then they are referred for laboratory tests and kept in institutional quarantine till the report is available. If they test positive, they are immediately admitted to dedicated COVID-19 hospitals for treatment.
The mobile dispensary has also been a major help for patients suffering from other ailments, who have been unable to access medical care as most private clinics and dispensaries in the city have shut down during the lockdown.
The initiative is a major respite for the civic administration, which is struggling to contain the pandemic which has claimed 60 lives in Pune district and affected over 800 so far. The PMC’s door-to-door survey has also covered over 40 lakh people, but the civic teams are not getting complete cooperation from local residents, who often hide their symptoms.
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