By Saibal Gupta
Kolkata, Aug 25 | Though the Covid situation in West Bengal is well under control with the daily infection rate well below 1,000 per day and the daily mortality rate under 15 for the last one month, the state government is not leaving anything to chances and have asked all the District Magistrates (DM) and Chief Medical Officers of Health (CMOH) of the districts to develop infrastructure so that the state gets well prepared to take on the third wave.
In a high-level meeting convened by chief secretary H.K. Dwiwedi where all the DMs and CMOHs were present, the district officials have been asked to give special attention on vaccination. “Chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants at least 50 per cent inoculation in the rural areas and 75 to 80 per cent in the urban areas. The state has been successful to complete the target in the urban areas but we are yet to reach the target in rural areas. We would like to achieve the target before the third wave hits the state,” a senior official present in the meeting said.
The third wave – that presumably will affect the children most – is likely to peak during October. The state government is doubly cautious because October-November is the festive season with Durga Puja and many other festivals and the government is not willing to take any chances.
According to the state health department, special emphasis is being given on expanding medical infrastructure for children and the seriously infected in the face of a possible third wave of corona. That is why the number of Critical Care Units (CCU) beds in different hospitals are being increased. At the same time, the number of Paediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) are also being increased.
Director of Medical Education Ajay Chakraborty said, “1,550 CCUs, 526 PIKU and 260 NIKU beds are being prepared ahead of the third wave of Corona. A total of 2,346 such beds are being prepared in all the hospitals as part of the expansion of paediatric infrastructure. The number of SNCU beds in the state has been increased to 246 by adding 160 new beds”.
Apart from developing the paediatric infrastructure and streamlining the medical facilities, special training is being given to all government doctors, nurses and other health workers, including paediatricians. An expert committee has also been formed to prepare medical policy guidelines.
A health official said that work has also started to buy medicines from the market so that it doesn’t become a hindrance for the treatment of the children.