New Delhi: “The fight against COVID is a joint effort and join responsibility of the Centre and States, and I am happy that we have faced this public health challenge with a collaborative spirit”. 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 five eastern States of Odisha, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The virtual meeting was held in the presence of Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health to review the public health preparedness for containment and management of COVID19 and progress of national COVID19 vaccination campaign. Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog was also present.
State Health Ministers who joined the high level review meeting included Shri Banna Gupta (Jharkhand), Shri T S Singh Deo (Chhattisgarh) and Shri Mangal Pandey (Bihar).The State Health Ministers unanimously thanked the Union Health Minister for the continued support from Government of India for management of the COCID pandemic.
Dr. Mandaviya said that irrespective of the COVID variants, ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate & Adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour’ continue to remain the tested strategy for COVID management. “While the active cases in most of the states and the positivity rate have shown a fall in the last two week, we still need to be Satark (vigilant) and not lower our guard”, he stated. He urged them to monitor the case positivity rate on a daily basis and increase RT-PCR testing rates as most of the states exhibited lower share of PTPCR tests. States were advised to keep a close watch on the number of hospitalisations and deaths. “It is important to analyse at the state level the proportion of vaccinated and unvaccinated of the hospitalised cases, the deaths and those on ventilators and oxygen support”, he advised them.
Union Health Minister reiterated his advice for all states to fully and effectively utilise the ECRP-II funds for strengthening the existing healthcare infrastructure and create new as per requirement. As the located funds under ECRP-II shall lapse on 31st March 2022, States were requested to review the progress on a regular basis, as this healthcare infrastructure will not only be utilised during the present pandemic, but will serve the people in the future too. He reminded them to complete installation and commissioning of the PSA plants, LMO storage tanks and MGPS expeditiously.
Highlighting vaccination as a critical tool for pandemic management, Dr Mandaviya advised the States to accelerate vaccination of all eligible population, especially of the 15-17 age group and those whose second dose is due.
Highlighting the importance of tele-consultation through platforms such as eSanjeevani, Dr. Mandaviya suggested to establish tele-consultation hubs in every district hospital and ramp up creation of spokes at all AB-HWCs at the earliest as it will help the masses and enable healthcare access to the remote areas of the country. These can be used not only during the ongoing pandemic, but also for non-COVID healthcare, he emphasised.
There was comprehensive and detailed discussion on various aspects of COVID management including ramping up of hospital infrastructure; increased testing; stringent restrictive measures for breaking the chain of transmission; and stress on COVID Appropriate Behaviour among the masses. States shared their best practices at the review meeting. Jharkhand informed about collecting data of migrant workers for vaccination. Chhattisgarh mentioned that a proper analysis of vaccinated and non-vaccinated people who tested positive is being made, while Bihar highlighted their initiative of doorstep delivery of medicines to COVID positive patients in home isolation through Speed Post.
Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Dr Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR, Dr. Manohar Agnani, AS (Health Ministry), Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS New Delhi, Shri Lav Agarwal, JS (Health Ministry), Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director (NCDC), and senior officials from the state were present in the meeting.