New Delhi: The Union government on Thursday asked states and Union Territories to ensure adequate buffer stock of the eight critical drugs used for clinical treatment of COVID-19 and advised them to review the readiness of hospitals to deal with any possible surge in cases.
Reviewing the public health preparedness for the Omicron variant and the progress of vaccination via video conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan urged the health Secretaries and NHM MDs of states and UTs to ensure that all health facilities have functional ventilators, PSA plants and oxygen concentrators.
“States were informed that many ventilators supplied by the Centre are still lying unpacked and unused at some field hospitals, with consumables not being procured and made available by the states.
“This needs to be reviewed immediately to ensure that all PSA oxygen plants, Oxygen concentrators and ventilators are installed and are functioning,” a health ministry statement said.
The five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccinate-adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour was highlighted as the mainstay of public health response strategy for effective and timely control and management of COVID-19 and its variants.
States and Union territories were told to enhance testing and focus on surveillance to ensure early identification of suspected cases for their prompt isolation and further clinical management. They were advised to ensure the availability of RT-PCR testing in all districts, the statement said.
“Districts reporting higher case positivity were alerted to monitor the case trajectory regularly, and to promptly dispatch positive samples to the mapped INSACOG labs for genomic sequencing,” it said.
Close monitoring of emerging hotspots/clusters, breakthrough and re-infection cases, and prompt investigation was discussed. It was re-emphasised that all contacts for positive patients are to be traced and tested according to protocol as quickly as possible, the statement said.
Based on the information of travellers from ‘at-risk’ countries from the Air Suvidha portal, district-wise monitoring of international passengers who have tested negative on arrival with a focus on symptomatic cases was highlighted in the meeting.
Keeping the winter season in mind, they were advised that the prevalence of influenza-like illness, severe acute respiratory infection and respiratory distress symptoms need to be closely monitored, the statement said.
To ensure that all hospital infrastructure is ready for any possible surge in cases, states and UTs were advised to review their readiness for providing quality medical care.
As the progress of the fund utilisation at the field level is being reviewed by the Health Ministry, information on the progress of this matter needs to be filled in the portal created for the purpose. It needs to be ensured that all health facilities at the field level have functional ventilators, PSA plants, oxygen concentrators, the statement said.
The Health Secretary also urged the states to ensure to maintain adequate buffer stock for the eight critical drugs identified for the clinical treatment of COVID-19. The Guidelines for these were shared with them in July.