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K’taka goes Mumbai way in Covid fight

Bengaluru: Taking a cue from Mumbai’s fight against Covid-19, the Karnataka government has announced decentralisation to fight the spread of the virus in the city
By Arun Dev
PUBLISHED ON MAY 09, 2021 12:35 AM IST

Bengaluru: Taking a cue from Mumbai’s fight against Covid-19, the Karnataka government has announced decentralisation to fight the spread of the virus in the city. In an order issued on May 7, the government has ordered to set up Ward Decentralised Triage and Emergency Response (DETER) Committees for Covid-19 management in all 198 wards in Bengaluru. The main goal of this step is to ensure the hospitalisation of Covid-19 patients is not delayed and those who require oxygen find support within two hours.

In the order issued on Friday, Manjunath Prasad, the principal secretary of the revenue department and member secretary of the state executive committee said that decentralisation will help provide better supervision for ward-level Covid-19 activities.

In the new system, Wad DETER committees (WDC) will run in coordination with the ward committees, volunteer residents’ welfare associations, civil society organisations and disaster support initiatives. Open-source technology platforms will be utilised to operationalise WDC functioning, and a suitable online platform will be used by the BBMP to support this.

The WDCs will be responsible for resource mapping the ward i.e. identifying general practitioners, mapping existing RWAs, colonies, apartments, slums, NGOs working in the public health sector, mobilise citizen volunteers, and upload all medical facilities, including primary health centres, Covid-19 care centres, hospitals and nursing homes, and testing centres.

The current system, response to Covid-19 in the city is controlled by the helpline number 1912 and zonal level helplines for each of the BBMP’s eight zones.

The change in policy takes a leaf from their counterparts in Mumbai. “Ward level Community Triage is seen as a successful intervention in many cities including Mumbai. Currently, there is a delay in informing the test results to the patient due to the centralised ICMR process followed by BU number generation process,” reads the order by the Karnataka government.

“To reduce delay in (Covid test) results and avoid panic, positive cases are relayed to the triage coordinator directly from the PHC throughout the day. The triage coordinator will delegate numbers to relevant citizen volunteers. The volunteers must be trained to do triage to identify persons who need to be admitted to ICU and those who require hospitalisation or should be sent to Covid care centres or isolated at home,” reads the order.

As per the order, the committees will be responsible for helping people access hospital beds. The data of those in ICU, hospital, CCC or at home will be maintained by the triage centre.

The order also mentions an exit strategy to reduce the bed turnaround time in hospitals. Limiting hospital admissions to people with severe illness and shifting those with moderate illness to CCCs in five days, are part of this strategy. The WDCs will also conduct bed audits thrice a day and prioritise admissions to those who need it the most.

Apart from this, the WDCs will be responsible for contact tracing and testing, identify cases under home isolation and offer support, ensure maximum vaccination coverage by holding vaccination drives, hyper-local IEC (information-education-communication) on Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, using pulse oximeter, prone position to improve oxygen levels etc. The printed IEC material in multiple languages should be distributed to all grocery stores in the ward.

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