The Union health ministry on Saturday asked Assam and seven other states to take urgent steps to prevent and reduce COVID-19 mortality rate.
As part of the continuous process of review and handholding of States and UTs for collaborative management of COVID-19, two high level virtual meetings were chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on August 7 and 8 to engage with the States reporting with high case load and higher Case Fatality Rate (CFR) than the national average.
On the concluding day on Saturday, the meeting focused on 13 districts concentrated in eight States and UTs. These are Kamrup (Metro) in Assam; Patna in Bihar; Ranchi in Jharkhand; Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala; Ganjam in Odisha; Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh; 24 Paraganas North, Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata and Maldah in West Bengal; and Delhi.
These districts account for nearly 9 percent of India’s active cases and about 14 percent of COVID deaths.
They also report low tests per million and high confirmation percentage. A surge has been observed in the daily new cases in four districts including Kamrup (Metro) in Assam; Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh; Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha in Kerala.
Principal Secretary (Health) and MD (NHM) from the eight States along with district surveillance officers, district collectors, commissioners of the municipal corporation, Chief Medical Officers, and Medical Superintendent of Medical Colleges participated in the virtual meeting.
They were advised to ensure timely referral and hospitalization in view of reports from some districts of patients dying within 48 hours of admission.
Officials said, states were directed to ensure availability of ambulances and adopt zero tolerance policy against staff if they refuse to offer services.
The need to ensure monitoring asymptomatic cases under home isolation with special focus on physical visits/phone consultation on daily basis was underscored.
States were asked to ensure a timely assessment and make advance preparedness for infrastructure viz. ICU beds, oxygen supply etc., based on the prevailing case load and the estimated growth rate.
The State authorities were advised to ensure that State Centers of Excellence other hospitals participate in these VCs regularly to improve clinical practices.
The States were also advised to follow all Ministry protocols for effective management of containment and buffer zones along with seamless patient and clinical management of patients with special focus on critical cases.
Another major area highlighted was that of preventable deaths by strict surveillance among high-risk population like people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, the elderly and children.