CM of Punjab moots research facility under healthcare experts

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday mooted a research facility, under the guidance of national and global healthcare experts, for combatting Covid-like pandemics and other serious diseases.

The Chief Minister extended his government’s continued and unequivocal support to the medical fraternity in battling this unprecedented crisis till Covid is completely eliminated. The state government was only the second line in the fight against the pandemic, he said, saluting the grit, commitment and sacrifices of all the frontline workers who had come together to save lives. Urging people not to be their own doctors but to seek the advice of the medical fraternity at the first signs of the infection, Captain Amarinder said his government was distributing food packets and Fateh Kits to wean the people away from hesitancy in going for treatment.

The Chief Minister was chairing a virtual meeting of the state’s Healthcare Experts Group for Covid management, set up by his government last year in the wake of the pandemic outbreak.
The video conference was participated by more than 250 health experts from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, besides four foreign doctors. Besides doctors, healthcare workers also joined the meeting.

Thanking Dr KK Talwar, who heads the Group, and his team as well as all the others doctors for their commendable job in Covid management, Captain Amarinder said Punjab will soon win the fight and succeed in pushing the disease back. The state, he said, was gearing up for a possible third wave and, despite the decline in cases in this wave, was not letting down its guard.

Earlier, Dr Talwar kicked off the meeting by sharing the objective of the session – one of many over the past one year. The aim, he said, was to set treatment protocols, guide doctors and put in place guidelines for management of Covid patients. It was important to ensure capacity building and monitor patients through well-laid out guidelines as very little was known about the disease, he said, adding that experts from AIIMS and PGI as well as from US, UK and other countries, had been participating in these sessions.

Expressing concern over the high CFR in Punjab, Dr Talwar said the expert group was analysing all deaths to be ready to deal with future crises. He further said that unlike some other states (as reported by the media), Punjab had made no attempt to hide or fudge its Covid death figures.

In a brief presentation, Group member Dr. G.D Puri, Head Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at PGI, Chandigarh, disclosed that as many as 130 classes, seminars, lectures and key discussions had been held so far. From time to time, the Covid management techniques were updated based on experience of doctors from other countries, who were battling with Covid much before India faced the crisis.

The Group has been collaborating with private hospitals for advising the line of treatment, while collaborations with various Indian NGOs and mental health institutes were helping patients fight depression. The line of treatment in black fungus and other post Covina complications was decided on the basis of such interactions, said Dr Puri.

Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said the success in Covid management was the result of the fact that the entire medical fraternity of Punjab, not just from within the state but also outside, came together to fight the pandemic. She also thanked the Chief Minister for his unstinted support to the medical teams.

Dr Anup Singh, a consultant doctor from New York, said his hospital had shared experience of how it dealt with cases when health infrastructure was collapsing. We limited use of excessive medicines and even steroids that’s why no cases of black fungus and other complications have been witnessed there.

Dr Ajit Katyal appreciated the Group’s work as a platform for developing protocols benchmarked to global standards for the service of the people amid the pandemic.

Dr Sandeep Kataria, who is working in New York in an underprivileged area of Bronx, said the protocols that emerge from these discussions are contributing in a big way to fighting the pandemic in a standardised manner.

Pointing out that no one could be safe unless every one was, Dr Quirino Piacevoli (Italy) said vaccination was the only answer to the problem. Stressing the need to reduce the cost of vaccines to make them affordable for every individual in the world, he said doctors in his country had already approached the European Union on this issue.

Dr Bishav Mohan, DMC Ludhiana, said that as a result of this Group’s work, Punjab was setting protocols for Covid management even before the Government of India came out with its guidelines. Dr Hitender Kaur, who heads the L3 facility in Ludhiana Civil Hospital, revealed that the Group was available for advice round the clock on WhatsApp.

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