Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha directs DCs, Health Department to strengthen health infrastructure in Rural Areas

Jammu: In order to effectively tackle Covid-19 pandemic in rural areas, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha has directed the Deputy Commissioners and Health department to ensure a minimum 5-bedded Covid Care Centre including one Oxygen supported bed in every Panchayat of Jammu & Kashmir for the patient requiring immediate medical attention.

Expenditure of up to Rs. 1 lakh per Panchayat has been approved by the Lt Governor from District Capex Budget to make these Centres immediately functional.

The decision has been taken to create basic minimum infrastructure to provide isolation facilities at Panchayat level as many households may not have option for isolation of Covid positive patients in their own residence.

The Lt Governor has directed the Health Department to strengthen other public health facilities including Sub-centres, Health and Wellness Centres, and Primary Health Centres for testing and referral of cases with co-morbidity or low oxygen saturation to the higher centres.

Panchayat ghars, community halls, or Schools could be utilized for creation of facilities in consultation with nearest Health Centre and Panchayat representatives. The Panchayats shall use upto Rs One Lakh available with them for creation of isolation facilities including beds, purchase of oxygen concentrator, and creation of toilet & other basic facilities. These Centres shall be equipped with necessary medical kits, and linked to nearest health centres & Tele-medicine facilities, the Lt Governor said.

Concerned medical officers to provide logistics, training etc. With the help of ASHA and Aanganwadi workers, Sarpanch and Panch’s village health committee shall act as community-based team and healthcare facilities including regular visit of doctors is to be ensured on priority. Panchayat members, volunteers, and Anganwadi Workers shall be roped in for testing and upkeep of such facilities. The persons needing isolation shall be identified by the Panchayats/ concerned Medical Staff / ASHA Workers/ members of Panchayat, Gram Sabha of the area, added the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor directed that mobile testing vans must be utilized to cover villages for testing with the help of PRIs and volunteers. Symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals to be provided Covid kits, and Block Medical Officers must ensure round-the-clock monitoring of positive cases and referral to the higher healthcare centre.

Ambulance services in rural areas must have oxygen support for safely transporting the patients to Covid dedicated hospitals, said the Lt Governor.

In view of the emerging situation due to Covid pandemic, the government has intensified Covid-19 response measures in the rural areas of the UT, thus strengthening the community healthcare system while continuing to provide other essential health services, observed the Lt Governor.

The grass-root level Covid care facility and effective implementation of containment & clinical management practices will ensure immediate isolation, and subsequent testing and treatment for effective Covid management, he added.

In an earlier meeting of Covid Task Force, the Lt Governor had directed the Health Department for laying special focus on Health infrastructure for managing Covid at rural level with enhanced surveillance, screening, isolation, and referral.

He had outlined the significance of community mobilization for Covid-19 management, behaviour change communication and Covid vaccination of priority groups, in local languages.

“PRIs will play a major role in preventive measures, supporting the families and maintaining coordination with medical and administrative officers at block level. Testing to be increased in rural areas and SDRF funds shall be utilized for rural sanitation drives. The DCs, block medical and development officers to ensure transportation, regular movement of mobile medical units and establishing referral linkage with dedicated Covid health centres and dedicated Covid hospitals,” the Lt Governor said.

The DCs have also been advised to utilize the services of officers, who have visited Panchayats during the Back to Village Programme to oversee the development works.