Delhi to train 5,000 nurses for next Covid wave: Arvind Kejriwal
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced that the Delhi government will build a force of 5,000 “community nursing assistants” in the Capital to help medical professionals as the city prepares for a potential third wave of Covid-19 infections.
This force will be trained in paramedics, life care, home care, first aid, administering injections including vaccines and sample collection, setting up oxygen concentrators and cylinders, checking basic vitals of patients, and other patient care activities, the CM said.
Those who are 18 and above, and have graduated from Class 12, will be eligible to apply, and online applications will open from Thursday (June 17).
The selected assistants will be trained by IP University, and their role will be to assist doctors and nurses when requisitioned for their service during the next wave of Covid-19.
“The advent of the third wave of Covid-19 has already begun in the United Kingdom. Preparations for the potential wave are on in full swing in the Delhi government. In the first and second waves in the country, we noticed that the huge surge in Covid-19 cases led to a severe shortage of medical and paramedical staff. Keeping that in mind, the Delhi government has made an ambitious plan to recruit and train 5,000 health assistants, who are technically called community nursing assistants,” Kejriwal said at a digital press briefing on Wednesday.
He added that recruitment will be on first-come-first-serve basis.
“These 5,000 nursing assistants will be given two weeks’ training each in batches of 500. Indraprastha University will impart the training in Delhi government’s nine major hospitals. These trained recruits will assist doctors and nurses, but they will not have the power to take any decision in patient treatment or anything related,” Kejriwal said.
The city endured a punishing fourth wave of Covid-19 infections between April and May that left health infrastructure overrun, overwhelmed medical workers, and led to crematoriums running out of space.
Over 760,000 people were infected in that period, while over 13,000 died of the infection between April and May alone. Cases in the city begin to peter out towards the middle of May on the back of a lockdown, which the state government imposed from April 19 onwards.
The chief minister said this force will ensure improved efficiency of doctors and better patient care, adding that they will be deployed at temporary Covid Care Centres and health care facilities, along with other such facilities.
“Training of these assistants will begin from June 28 and they will be called when needed. They will be paid according to the number of days they work. I hope with this move, Delhi government’s preparation for the third wave will be strengthened and the shortage of manpower that we faced in the previous waves will not reoccur,” Kejriwal said.
Dr Lalit Kant, former head of epidemiology and infectious disease at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said addressing the shortage of health care staff is as important as arranging for sufficient medical infrastructure.
“It is one of the main pillars of augmenting health care infrastructure. It will, of course, be important to keep this new force under close supervision whenever they are deployed on the field to avoid negligence or callousness,” Dr Kant said