PHANA proposes a multi-pronged strategy in order to prepare for the next Covid-19 wave in Karnataka

PHANA President Dr. Prasanna H M & Secretary; Dr. Rajashekar Y L appoint healthcare leader; Dr. Hema Divakar as Chair of Expert Group; private hospitals to strengthen collaboration

BENGALURU: PHANA (Private Hospitals and  Nursing Homes Association)  has  developed a multi-pronged strategy to be implemented, especially when the number of patients is low, in a coordinated attempt to prepare effectively for the next wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Karnataka. Renowned healthcare leader Dr. Hema Divakar, who has been appointed as the chair of PHANA’s Expert Group on Covid-19 has come out with a set of recommendations encompassing vaccination advocacy, research-linked data documentation and effective training of healthcare workers, for the private hospitals in the state.

The Expert Group, led by Dr. Hema, formed on 9th July 2021, comprises office-bearers of PHANA and experts from the fields of virology, epidemiology, and pulmonologist and pediatricians for a collective and collaborative approach.

“The need of the hour is to take visible, proactive, and useful steps. The role of the private sector in containing the spread of this pandemic is critical while supporting the steps taken by the government. When cases are low is time to prepare to avert the next wave. We should, therefore, make the most of the non-emergency period (when cases are low) by setting up processes and the action begins now,” said Dr. Hema Divakar, CEO of ARTIST for Her and past president of FOGSI.

Emphasizing the role of vaccines, Dr. Prasanna H M, President, PHANA, pointed out that private hospitals must follow the hub and spoke model to conduct vaccination drives across cities and towns, “This model was followed during the first phase of the vaccination drive and the outcomes were effective. While specific hospitals were appointed as vaccination centres, nearby hospitals would undertake advocacy. All hospitals will address vaccine hesitancy with the same voice. In addition, the corporate sector, industries, and SMEC sectors, in conjunction with the designated vaccination centres (hospitals), must conduct large scale drives.”

The second recommendation is on data documentation, which is essential to streamline the approach. A common template and colour-coded document for the Covid-19 case sheet must be used by all the private hospitals. This will help disseminate Covid-19 case-related information accurately and speedily through physical as well as electronic transfers to the state nodal centres.

“Early detection of a rise in infections and acting early is the only way to suppress the next wave before it begins. We need to put in place systems to accurately record key indicators such as cases, hospitalizations, mortality, the infection rate, R0 (the number of new infections generated by each case), and seroprevalence in a timely manner. This is crucial for early detection,” Dr. Rajashekar Y L, Secretary, PHANA, said.

The third recommendation is imparting training to all healthcare workers in the latest practices and guidelines for care. During the first wave, ARTIST had undertaken extensive training of healthcare workers in key states on handling Covid-19 cases and the associated protocols. Likewise, in order to relieve the pressure on hospitals in advance, PHANA will focus on developing and communicating Covid-19 clinical and home-based care guidelines in collaboration with trusted medical institutions for treatments that are of assured quality, safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness.

Decision-making during a pandemic is complex, as it involves tremendous pressure, requires multiple stakeholders, and relies on information that is flawed, uncertain, proximate, or sparse. “We cannot afford to be complacent to the risks of subsequent waves. Mechanisms for early detection and preparedness are key to preventing deaths and wider socio-economic impacts. PHANA is working in this direction,” Dr. Hema said.

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