Covid-19: Telangana Govt Prepares Third Wave
Hyderabad: Even as India grapples with the second wave of Covid-19, experts are already calling for preparations for the third wave. There are different opinions on the possibility of a high burden of Covid infections among children in the third wave of the pandemic.
While the jury is still out on the third wave and its impact on children, the State Health Department doesn’t want to get caught unprepared and has already started preparing to augment existing healthcare facilities for children, especially ICU and High Dependency Units (HDU) that provide specialised healthcare services.
During the first and second Covid waves, national and international estimates have suggested that 2 per cent to 3 per cent of children, who tested Covid positive, required hospitalisation. Based on the feedback from the Union Health Ministry, the State health authorities are now preparing to create infrastructure to provide admissions for 5 per cent of children. The estimates mean that an estimated 5 per cent of children who test Covid positive would need hospitalisation in the third wave.
To meet the possible surge, the existing government Covid facilities are being augmented and additional hospital beds are added by at least 10 per cent. These facilities will have provisions for parents or guardians to be with the child. Authorities in Telangana are also looking to have separate areas earmarked within Covid facilities for children and their parents.
The augmented facilities will have adequate provision for oxygen supplies, paediatric specific respiratory support devices, monitoring equipment for children and pediatric formulations. An adequate number of trained manpower for managing pediatric cases will also be available.
Standalone paediatric hospitals like Niloufer Hospital and Gandhi Hospital already have dedicated paediatric Covid care facilities. In the coming days, HDUs and ICU will be strengthened within all the paediatric hospitals to handle Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) cases. If the surge is excessive and the capacity of Covid facilities are overwhelmed, then general beds, wards and ICU facilities of hospitals could be roped in.
“We can’t afford to ignore and be unprepared when experts and public health specialists are warning of a possible surge of Covid infections among children. That’s why Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is keen to be prepared ahead. At present, we are planning to create at least 7,000 exclusive beds for children with 2,000 beds only at Niloufer Hospital,” says Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr K Ramesh Reddy.
In addition to the creation of infrastructure, a comprehensive IEC campaign including messages about paediatric Covid will be taken up in districts. Authorities said that special focus will be on children in orphanages, boarding schools and hostels, as these could be potential hotspots.