New Delhi: Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan today visited Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), which is one of India’s oldest and established medical college, to review status of COVID-19 management. Keeping in view the emerging requirements for hospital preparedness, LHMC & Associated Hospitals – Smt. Sucheta Kriplani Hospital (SSKH) and Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital (KSCH), is functioning as dedicated 30-bedded COVID-19 hospital consisting of adequate isolation wards and beds.
Before the start of the visit, Director, LHMC, Dr. (Prof.) N.N.Mathur gave a detailed presentation to the Union Minister regarding the facilities available in LHMC & Associated Hospitals to the COVID-19 patients as well as the status of the patients admitted in the Hospital. It was informed that Dedicated COVID facility had 24 Isolation beds and 5 ICU beds. The facilities for suspect patients had been identified in SSKH and KSCH with 40 and 41 beds respectively in each hospital.
During the visit, the Union Minister visited the Hospital emergency, OPD, sampling center, critical areasof COVID block,and changing facility for doctors and health workers. He was satisfied to note that the doctors and health staff manning the sample collection facility were provided special bathing, changing and spray facility for disinfecting themselves at Oncology building, the specialized COVID-19 facility. The Union Minister was informed about the facility for boarding and lodging which were provided to the health workers in few hotels nearby at walkable distances to avoid the issues of transportation and prevent the exposure to their families. He was also informed of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) building nearby being turned into COVID Care Centre managed by Doctors and nurses from LHMC and has 70 patients at the moment who are Asymptomatic COVID-positive and include health care workers of LHMC who became positive during discharge of their duty or otherwise.
At the COVID block, the Minister spoke through video call to two intern doctors who got infected with COVID-19, while treating patients at LHMC, and were admitted at the facility. Union Minister also interacted with two patients admitted in the COVID ward through video, who, in turn, apprised the Minister about the facilities in COVID ward. The Minister said, “I am happy to learn that they all are hale and hearty and recuperating well at the hospital. Particularly for admitted intern doctors, it is very encouraging for me to see their high morale despite suffering from COVID.”
After a detailed review and inspection of the various wards and premises of the Hospital, he expressed satisfaction at the working of the various units. He stated: “In last few days, I have been visiting various hospitals AIIMS (Delhi), LNJP, RML, Safdarjung, AIIMS Jhajjar, Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty and now LHMC to review the preparedness of COVID-19 and I am satisfied with the arrangements made by these hospitals to deal effectively with the outbreak”.
While commending the frontline caregivers such as nurses, doctors and other healthcare personnel for the resilience, hard work, dedication and commitment shown by them in dealing with COVID-19, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “The recovery rate of COVID-19 patients has steadily increased which shows that more and more of these patients are getting better and going back to their homes. Till now around 10,000 COVID patients have recovered and have joined their normal life. Majority of patients in other hospitals are also on road to recovery. It reflects the quality of care provided by our frontline health workers in India. I congratulate them for their success. The country is grateful to you for your services in such times. It is heartening to see the high morale of our health warriors in these testing times.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also stated that the prevention, containment and management of COVID-19 in the country is being monitored regularly at highest levels in collaboration with the States. He said, “The rate of growth of new cases has also been steadying for a while. As per the data received today, for the past three days the doubling rate is 12.0, for seven days 11.7 and for 14 days it is 10.4.”He further said“We need to adhere to strict physical distancing and basic hand hygiene etiquettes properly to take lockdown 3.0 to a logical end.”
He further said there are 130 Hotspots Districts, 284 Non-hotspots Districts and 319 Non-infected Districts. “We are aware about the numbers of our foe and we know its location and it will be systematically dealt with iron hands.” He further informed that districts are further divided into green, orange and red zones and would be opened up accordingly as per the guidelines of the Government of India.
He stated, “We have crossed over 10 lakh tests till date and are performing over 74,000 tests in a day presently.” He further said that the Government has distributed around 20 lakh PPE kits all over India and supplied medicines [both Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Paracetamol (PCM)] to more than100 countries world over. He informed that India is on a better footing as compared to other countries of the world and is capable to pull off any eventuality with more than 2.5 lakh beds in Dedicated COVID Hospitals and Dedicated COVID Health Centers all over the country.
While talking about the stranded migrant laborer population, he said “As per the guidelines of the government, migrant population is being assisted to return to their homes by buses and trains while taking full precautions and adhering to physical distancing.”
Talking about opening up of the various activities the Minister said,“Slowly and gradually the economic activities would be opened up one by one. There is detailed planning according to which various industries like drug, pharmaceuticals etc. are being assisted to return back to normalcy as soon as possible.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan urged the people of India to observe the extended period of lockdown 3.0 (till May 17, 2020) in letter and spirit and treat it as an effective intervention to cut down the chain of transmission of COVID-19. “It is important to continue following hand hygiene, like washing hands with soap and water or using sanitizer; to disinfect and regularly clean all frequently touched surfaces.Everybody should wear a mask or face cover as appropriate; download the Corona tracker app “ArogyaSetu” for self-assessment of risk; and maintain physical distancing.” He said by observing discipline in day-to-day life during Lockdown 3.0 would reap us rich dividends in terms of turning the tide against COVID-19. “We are on the path of success and we will win this war against COVID-19 in toto”.
He urged the countrymen to not ostracize the doctors treating COVID-19 patients and to not stigmatize the patients who have won the battle against COVID-19. He said “They are our heroes and need a worthy treatment.” He further said that “Today the Indian Air Force is acknowledging these warriors, throughout the country, by sprinkling them with flower petals through helicopters”. He further said that “The fight of India with COVID is lauded not only by WHO but by the whole world in unison.”
Dr. Rajeev Garg, Director General of Health Services, Government of India, Dr. N. N. Mathur, Director, LHMC and other senior doctors were also present with the Union Minister during his visit to LHMC.