Centre reviewed the preparedness of five States of eastern India to address the needs and challenges of the current phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan along with Member, Health, NITI Aayog Dr Vinod K Paul chaired a high-level meeting with the States of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand. The review meeting assessed the arrangements put in place by these states for containment and management of the COVID-19. The evidence suggested that the pandemic is moving eastward and a rise has been observed in the number of daily cases in these states along with rising mortality.
During the meeting, five critical areas of action were discussed for addressing the needs and challenges of the recent phase of the pandemic in these states.
The meeting underscored the critical importance of human resources in providing health services and the clinical management of the severe COVID patients in the hospitals. The States were advised to ensure that performance linked payments of the Community Health Officers at the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres and the incentives to the ANMs and other health workers are paid timely. The National Health Mission funds to the states may be utilized for this purpose.
In addition, a slew of decisions have been taken recently by the Union Government whereby the services of final year MBBS students, final year nursing students and internees can be utilized for COVID related healthcare works.
The Ministry said, starting from today, the list of districts across the country where the positivity rate is above 20 per cent has been displayed on the website of the Health Ministry. This list is dynamic and will be updated on a regular basis. States are required to undertake focussed efforts in these districts regarding testing, home isolation of the infection people, measures to prevent crowding and intermingling of people to curb spread of infection.
Dr V K Paul stressed for States to ramp up the hospital and clinical management capacities including effective operation of ambulances, enhance testing in districts witnessing higher positivity than the national average. Dr Paul stressed to take timely decisions to augment Human Resource under the new enabling provisions of the Union Government. He also highlighted private sector participation in telemedicine services to relieve pressure on public facilities and requested for diligent following of the Home Ministry’s order on containment measures.