Mock Drills to enhance preparedness for COVID in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Following a series of training and capacity building programmes for the health workforce in Odisha, the government has embarked on conducting mock drills to test the preparedness at COVID Hospitals and COVID Health Centres, that are the two levels of facilities established to treat moderate to severe cases of Covid-19.
On 10th May 2020, mock drills were organised at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) and at the Gopabandhu Ayurvedic Hospital in Puri, both of which have been converted to Covid Hospital and Covid Health Center, respectively.
Mr. Binay Kumar Das, Additional District Magistrate, Puri who was present at the drill mentioned that the exercise and presence of experts have helped in reviewing the infrastructure, supplies and organisation at the facility against norms and guidelines and to recognise areas that need strengthening.
Experts from the SCB Medical College, Cuttack and a team from the United Nations (UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO) jointly facilitated the exercise together with the district health team.
The drill tested various components of COVID response, that covered patient flow, screening, triage, isolation, treatment and transfer of patients between hospitals.
Special emphasis was laid on infection prevention practices of the health care functionaries and support staff including use of personal protective equipment and biomedical waste management at different locations in the hospital. One of the main concerns in COVID management being prevention of hospital acquired infections and protecting health care workers. Role of paramedics, ambulance drivers, attendants and those handling the biomedical waste was also tested.
At the IDH, eight doctors including a Pulmonologist, a Physician, general duty medical officers, AYUSH Doctors and around fifteen Staff Nurses participated in the drill along with support staff and ambulance teams. Different scenarios were tested where volunteers enacted role of COVID patients with varying degrees of severity.
Observing the mock drill, Dr. Nilakantha Mishra, Chief District Medical and Public Health Officers (CDM& PHO), Puri remarked that the drill has not only helped in identifying areas that need special attention but also helped in instilling confidence among staff in COVID management.
The Department of Health and Family Welfare has planned to conduct similar mock drills across the state at newly established COVID Hospitals that are yet to admit cases.