Wave after wave. Of Covid 19. Even as we are all still grappling with the effects of the second wave, the state government is getting ready to tackle the third wave, which is expected to hit the state by September this year. Unlike the other two waves that have toppled the country, this one aims to hit where it hurts the most- the pediatric section. Around 4 lakhs of the population of the state including 2.5 lakh children under the age of 12 will be susceptible to infection, if not protected.
Not that the third wave of covid is a paedophilic virus, but the proportion of children getting infected, will be higher than the previous ones. Experts have noted a steady increase in the pattern of infectivity in children, growing from 7-8% in the first wave to a 12% in the current wave. Bearing the steady rise in mind, the govt is gearing up to tackle this new attack, by adding many pediatric ICUs in the state, roping in as many as 120 pediatricians from the private sector, and also forming a special task force, as well as an experts committee.
The 15 member STF has been set up under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, with the state Health Minister as the vice-chairman. The other members would include doctors from state-run and private hospitals. The expert’s committee will be headed by GMC dean, Dr Shivanand Bandekar.
The Chief Minister has said that common SOPs will be worked out for private and government hospitals. An expert committee has also deliberated on the medication required for children as the drugs that are currently being used cannot be administered to children. Pediatricians are being trained to adhere to the treatment protocol prescribed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS).
Along with that, there has been an emphasis on counseling the parents on strictly enforcing home isolation. The home monitoring mechanism will be strengthened by involving Anganwadi workers, councilors, and teachers. There will also be strict monitoring of such patients so that they can be shifted to a higher facility the moment an escalation is observed. A severe escalation can lead to the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children.
The expert committee has also decided to immediately vaccinate all lactating mothers who have children below 2years of age, and women between 18-44 years of age with co-morbidities, so that their children are protected. The Chief Minister has informed that the state would float tenders to procure enough vaccines for the same.
The state govt has also moved a proposal to the center to loan vaccines from the stock meant for people above 45years. The govt had also approached two manufacturing companies to get 5lakh and 10 lakh doses respectively.
While the state works hard to get ready to battle the next wave of covid, the population must ensure that such efforts are not gone to waste. Following rules and regulations, and ensuring proper hygiene can only lead to better prospects in the future. While the system goes about setting a proper code of procedure in place, we as citizens need to get ready to protect our own children and behave responsibly.