‘ It is time for public, private sectors to work together’, says Dr Naresh Trehan on tackling Covid-19
Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director, Medanta Hospital tells Archana Mishra about the treatment of 14 Covid-19 positive Italian patients who were discharged on Monday after being cured.Updated: Mar 24, 2020 15:36 IST
Ten of the 14 Italian tourists who were undergoing treatment, after testing positive to Covid-19, at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram were discharged on Monday after testing negative in the second confirmatory test. One patient was discharged on Saturday, while one tested positive in the second confirmatory test. Two are still undergoing treatment. The patients were shifted to Medanta Hospital from the quarantine facility of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police on March 4.
Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director, Medanta Hospital tells Archana Mishra about the treatment and the processes involved.
What was the line of treatment adopted by the hospital to cure the Covid-19 patients?
They were in isolation and treated symptomatically. The whole credit goes to our staff, who took excellent care of them, looking after their medical, food and housekeeping needs, although, we were worried as they were equally getting exposed to it. The outcome shows we could treat them as well as anybody in the world. The results are excellent. The remaining three patients are also recovering and they might leave in the next few days.
What worked for these patients?
They are all older people, who are most vulnerable to the disease. As the treatment went along and we saw a deteriorating health condition, we gave them a combination of antiviral drugs, like HIV drugs, and used chloroquine selectively. It was tailored for them daily, after studying their symptomology and diagnostic findings. If anybody was showing congestion in the lungs, we would add more antiviral medicines to prevent further deterioration of health. A lot of data has come out in this process. Now, we are collating the data as this is the first proof of the patients being treated in one place. This would help us with future treatments.
Considering the increasing number of confirmed cases, how important is the public-private partnership (PPP) in the health sector?
If there is ever a time that PPP is needed the most, this is it. Today, we are facing a massive burden, with difficulty in even gauging the gravity of it. If it hits India with the intensity with which it has hit other countries, we could face an unprecedented problem. It is for this reason that the public and private sectors have to work in tandem. We have to pool the resources as there are not enough in India. We don’t have enough beds, critical care beds, ventilators, paramedical equipment and we don’t have enough trained manpower to take care of patients. Our experience and ability to treat these patients puts us in a stronger position. The cost of treatment, however, is huge. So, we hope to limit the cases by imposing lockdown, breaking the chain by identifying infected people, isolating and treating them. We don’t have a radar right now. All we know is that the curve is going higher.
In the current situation, we are noticing a shift from patient-centred treatment to community-centred treatment. Where do you see it going from here?
This has been a learning process for us. These 14 people have helped us to sensitise our people. Certain fears have been mitigated because we can say we can take care of them without the hospital staff getting infected. This has been proved.
The private sector has been allowed to conduct the test for coronavirus. Will it be possible for the private sector to do free testing?
Everybody should do their bit and conduct free tests for those who can’t afford it.