“Let there be no lapses in our preparedness as we battle this surge of the pandemic. Holistic synergy between Centre and States is most vital for seamless and effective pandemic management”. This was stated by Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today as he virtually interacted with State Health Ministers and Principal Secretaries/ Additional Chief Secretaries and Information Commissioners of six Western States/UTs of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Dadra & Nagra Haveli and Daman & Diu. The virtual meeting was held to review the public health preparedness for contain and and management of COVID19 and progress of national COVID19 vaccination campaign in the presence of Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health.
State Health Ministers who joined the high level review meeting included Shri Rushikesh Ganeshbhai Patel (Gujarat), Dr. Prabhuram Choudhary (Madhya Pradesh), Shri Parsadi Lal Meena (Rajasthan) and Shri Rajesh Tope (Maharashtra). The State Health Ministers thanked the Union Health Minister for the continued support from Government of India in the collaborative and collective fight against COVID-19.
The granular status and analysis of COVID in the six States/UT was made by the Health Ministry officials covering the trajectory of total and new cases, active cases, weekly and daily positivity, weekly tests conducted with proportion of RT-PCR and RAT testing, deaths, Cases per Million (CPM), Tests per Million (TPM) and omicron case status. This was followed by a comprehensive and detailed discussion on various aspects of COVID management including effective implementation of surveillance and containment activities, ramping up of hospital infrastructure; increased testing; enforcement of stringent restrictive measures for breaking the chain of transmission; and stress on COVID Appropriate Behaviour among the masses.
Reiterating that the Centre is dedicated to supporting states in containing COVID, Dr Manuskh Mandaviya said that Govt of India has provided support under ECRP-II for strengthening the health infrastructure across the country. He urged the states to make robust preparation in terms of physical infrastructure and efficiently utilize the approved funds under ECRP-II. He requested the State Health Ministers to review the implementation of physical activities under ECRP-II. It was also suggested that operational status of infrastructure like beds, PSA plants, oxygen equipments be filled in by States on the national portal- https://covid19.nhp.gov.in/. They must be operationalised and kept in functional state to meet any evolving situation in future. It was emphasized that for real time data-driven analysis and information-based decisions in the fight against Covid, States/UTs were requested to update their respective data on the monitoring portals. This would help in planning and assessing preparedness at several levels. He also advised them to review the buffer stock of essential medicines and ensure the shortages, if any, are replenished through timely purchase orders.
The Union Minister advised the States to increase vaccination of all eligible population, especially in low vaccination coverage areas/districts. He stated that “vaccination against COVID results in low hospitalisation and severity, as is seen globally”. He emphasised on administration of ‘precaution dose’ for the identified categories commencing from today and urged the States to ensure full coverage of the vulnerable population. He also requested States/UTs to expedite full coverage of the eligible age group of 15-18 years at the earliest.
Dr. Mandaviya said that irrespective of the COVID variants, ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate & Adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour’ continue to form the pivotal foundation for COVID management. He urged the states to re-invigorate their teams to work at the ground level and strengthen monitoring and containment mechanisms. States were advised to hold regular meetings with regional officers of ICMR, NCDC, Airport Public Health Officers (APHOs) and the State Surveillance Officers.
Dr Mandaviya highlighted the importance of tele-consultation through platforms such as eSanjeevani. He advised the States to establish tele-consultation hubs in every district. “They should work round the clock such that those who seek expert advice do not have to travel to the district but can be advised at the block levels, through a hub and spoke model.
“It is important that people know about the available health infrastructure and healthcare services available at various levels starting from the block level, such as hospital beds, testing facilities, ambulance services etc. States need to publicize their availability in public domain through various means and also establish Control Rooms to monitor them”, the Union Health Minister stated. Easy availability of information in public domain will result in avoiding clogging of beds by patients due to panic, he added. Various SOPs, Guidelines and Advisories shared by the Centre with states also need to be publicized for widespread awareness regarding.
Union Minister of State for Health, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar stressed on the need for strictly following home isolation guidelines in view of the rising number of mild COVID-19 cases. She also urged the states to ensure that the healthcare workers are trained for monitoring of those in home isolation.
Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Dr. Manohar Agnani, AS (Health Ministry), Smt. Arti Ahuja, AS (Health Ministry), Shri Lav Agarwal, JS (Health Ministry), Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director (NCDC), Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS New Delhi and senior officials of ICMR were present in the meeting.