Coronavirus needs to be destigmatised so that people get treatment in time which will help reduce the mortality rate, All India
Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria said here on Saturday.
Dr Guleria who is a noted pulmonologist and Dr Manish Soneja of AIIMS Department of Medicine visited the Civil Hospital here and held discussions with its staff amid rapidly rising number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the city. Ahmedabad city's COVID-19 mortality rate is 6.5 per cent, almost double that of the country at 3.3 per cent.
The two interacted with resident doctors of the hospital seeking their inputs about treatment of COVID-19 patients and provided expert guidance, officials said. Gujarat Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi was also present.
The visitors from the AIIMS, flown in by a special IAF aircraft on Friday, later met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel at the CM's residence in Gandhinagar. Speaking to the media, Dr Guleria said the stigma attached to coronavirus was contributing to the high mortality rate as people delay getting examined for fear of being quarantined and stigmatised as infection carrier.
It was therefore important to destigmatise coronavirus so that people get treated in time, he said. It was also important to protect the elderly and those with comorbid conditions (having other chronic health issues) from getting infected, and such persons should approach
hospitals at the earliest to avoid health complications, he said.
"Because of the fear of getting bad name or getting quarantined, some patients are scared of visiting hospital or getting tested. When they are positive and come late, it raises chances of mortality," Dr Guleria said. "Several times, lives of patients with mild symptoms
getting low oxygen supply in blood can be saved if they get proper oxygen supply following timely treatment. Low oxygen affects their heart and lungs, and this increases their chances of death.
"If they have symptoms which can be that of coronavirus, they should get tested, isolated, to save their life with early diagnosis and treatment, and also save their near and dear ones from getting affected," he said.
Dr Guleria also praised the facilities created by the government for the treatment of coronavirus cases. It was important to fight the disease at the community level rather than at the hospital level, he said. "Healthcare workers, residents, nursing staff, have
to together fight the pandemic....Community participation is vital. People have to come forward to reduce mortality and spread of transmission," he said.
The two AIIMS doctors were flown here at the request of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, state officials said. Gujarat has so far reported 7,797 coronavirus cases and 472 deaths. 5,540 cases and 363 deaths have been reported in Ahmedabad alone.