New Delhi: On March 15, a team of Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS in New Delhi went on a round of inspection at various wards to check the supply of personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak. The executives were shocked to find that some wards did not have adequate universal precautionary components for the safety of doctors.
A request was made for prompt action and arrangements quickly done.
“The doctors are at the forefront of fighting the outbreak. For the pandemic to be dealt with effectively, the army needs to have the equipment. The personal protective equipment is very crucial in times of pandemic to ensure the safety of doctors,” said Adarsh Pratap Singh, President of the RDA, AIIMS.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes N95 masks, gowns, sterillium (sanitiser) and normal masks.
On finding the shortfall of the requisite items, the vigilance team wrote to the hospital administration on March 16, saying that “the inspection” discovered there was not much preparedness regarding the protection and safety of doctors.
“We wrote to the administration telling them about the inspection and requested the administration to take prompt action to ensure PPE availability round the clock for the safety of doctors and nursing staff in order to continue providing our selfless service to our patients,” said Singh.
On Wednesday, the RDAs of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital held a meeting regarding the safety of doctors wherein they said the administration has ensured the required kit is available all the time as hospitals are adding more beds in wards for COVID-19 patients specifically. Becoming a stakeholder in the action team is much important for the ensuring the safety of doctors, they said.
The doctors wrote to the director of AIIMS. “Consider RDA a stakeholder in the coronavirus action team in implementing the policy to contain and manage the COVID 2019 outbreak. This will also facilitate communication between residents and administration to better handle situation,” they said.
The government on Wednesday said the number of positive cases of coronavirus in India has risen to 151, including 25 foreign nationals. The highest number of cases so far have been reported from Maharashtra (39), with Kerala (25) and Uttar Pradesh (15) following behind.
The Ministry of External Affairs earlierconfirmed that a total of 276 Indians living abroad were infected, of which 255 are in Iran. The other numbers were one each in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rwanda and Sri Lanka, five in Italy and 12 in UAE. Delhi has so far reported 10 positive cases, including one foreigner, while Uttar Pradesh has recorded 16 cases, including one foreign national.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Dr Balram Bhargava has said the country has not yet seen community transmission of the novel coronavirus outbreak. India continues to be in stage-II, which is local transmission, he said. However, a wary RDA said, “We cannot predict anything, best is to ensure preparedness and precautions.”
There has been a shortage of masks at Safdarjung Hospital as well. RDA President Manish said the issue was raised and addressed by the administration. “PPE is what doctors need to stay safe and be with the patient. We are also raising awareness through social media – on the importance of protection of doctors and patients as well,” he said.
A patient with contact history reportedly entered emergency and put the life of others at work at risk. “To avoid such incidents and ensure the safety of doctors, we are setting up the fever scanning center. Here, all the patients will be scanned and going by the symptoms will either be sent for coronavirus or emergency," said Manish.