Covid-19: Situation in Dimapur, Kohima quite alarming
Kohima, May 12 (EMN): Principal Director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Neikhrielie Khimiao on Wednesday maintained while speaking on the overall Covid scenario in the state that the situation could be tackled.
Speaking to journalists in Kohima, Khimiao said that the number of Covid-19 cases is “not alarming” yet going by the latest inputs received from various districts and that it won’t be a problem for the medical team to tackle at this stage.
However, he stated that ‘the numbers (Covid cases) in Dimapur and Kohima are quite alarming and for this reason we discussed within the department and at the top government level, and for which the High Power Committee (HPC) had decided to impose a total lockdown’.
When asked if the alarming rise in Covid cases and high positivity rate revealed by the random sample test in the two cities could be termed as ‘community transmission,’ the official replied: “According to the data available to us, it is not”.
He said that the department has been asked to test as much as possible but that demands availability of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) besides the existing RTPCR and TrueNat test.
‘RAT is required to come up with a clear cut picture as it can be done even at the district-level without much hassle; at airports, railway station, or even in any pockets where positive cases are reported, only then one can say if it is a community transmission,’ he said.
“As of today, only in pockets it (community transmission) can be seen, so it cannot be termed as full community spread,” he added.
Meanwhile, the official maintained that checking at entry points with RAT is the only solution to check Covid patients coming to the state, while rapid rise of cases had necessitated the declaration of Dimapur and Kohima as containment zones.
On state government’s decision to engage trained nurses and paramedics for Covid-19 crisis, the principal director said the nursing council and other bodies have opposed the move, stating that those under training cannot be allowed to undergo the crisis.
“But when we are at war, certain measures, even if the council says and when we run short of manpower, certain measures have to be taken,” he stated.
Informing that there was ‘no outright rejection’ when the department suggested measures to solve manpower issue at the HPC meeting, he exuded hope that ‘it would not create complications in the coming days’.
“When a nation is at war, even if such laws are there, one will have to sacrifice everything and come forward. So, as we are running short of manpower in the department, we have opted and given suggestions to the HPC to take a stand on this issue,” said Khimiao.
While stating that the HPC had raised concern over to shortage of manpower in Dimapur and Kohima, he said the department had appointed all the district in-charge and decided to recall one doctor, two nurses and one lab technician each from all the districts to solve the manpower crisis in the two districts.
He however added that the chief medical officers of respective districts, in consultation with the district task forces, would take certain actions at their level, ‘for which they are entitled’ and that they can recall manpower from their own districts to tackle the crisis.
When asked about reports of some healthcare workers tendering their resignation due to the overwhelming cases in the state, the principal director said he had not received any such letters yet but didn’t rule out such a scenario in private sector following the government’s order to reserve 50% beds for Covid-19 patients’
‘On this issue, the private sector has come forward and spelled out problems to us’; they said that their staff were threatening to resign, routine activities such as attending to non-Covid patients were being affected; surgical emergencies would be affected with a low curve and subsequently affect income, he said.
He added that private hospitals had however expressed willingness to accommodate ‘at most two to three ICU beds and other oxygen supportive beds’ but not 50% beds reservation.
“Also, in order to tackle the cases, Dimapur District Hospital was declared as Covid-19 Hospital which has a rough figure of hundred-bedded capacity to handle Covid positive cases,” he maintained, adding that the state should be prepared in case of any further aggravation.
“In this regard, the department at its peace zone meeting was stated to have decided to give a representation to the state government to declare the Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research (CIHSR), Dimapur to be the next Covid hospital and to lay down provisions for further rapid extensions, in case the hospital runs out of beds as the CIHSR is centrally located and have sufficient free space even though at present, it has about 200 beds wherein about 20 beds were earmarked for Covid positive patients or more beds might have been increased,” he added.
He maintained that the Health department had decided to assist the private hospitals, including CIHSR with more oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators, adding that “oxygen treatment is the best solution available for the management of Covid-19 patients”.
In regard to samples being sent for genome sequencing, the official said that ‘it couldn’t be executed as the sampling wasn’t sent in a proper manner’.
The principal director also pointed out that makeshift hospitals could be set up by any agency but more expertise would be required for actual treatment of Covid patients, as five out of hundred patients could become serious and require assisted oxygen therapy (AOT); and to run such facilities will be difficult if cases increase.
“I feel it’s just an eyewash to bring a makeshift hospital to amuse the people, but in reality the set up should be able to make all the arrangements with the ventilators, trained doctors and nurses so that it can work affectively,” he said.
Vaccination for 18 years and above
The principal director informed that the department had paid its share for procurement of vaccine and the manufacturers are expected to supply in the next one week, ‘if all goes well’.
Oxygen generation plant
He informed that the installation of oxygen generation plant at NHAK has been completed and the sample result sent for testing air quality is expected by Thursday.
The oxygen generation plant in Dimapur with 200 LPM capacity is also ‘more or less ready’, he said, adding that healthcare workers were also happy about the development as it would boost the health system, ‘oxygen being the main stay for treatment of Covid patients’.
He stated that technicians would be arriving in the state from Kolkata on Thursday to fit the oxygen pipes, first at Dimapur before proceeding to Kohima, Mokokchung and other districts.
Meanwhile, he informed that equipment for oxygen generation plants to be set in the remaining eight district hospitals are expected to arrive in the state on May 20. The projects will be funded by UNICEF and UNDP and each plant will have 100- 50 LMP capacity.
Manipur yet to release 4 doctors
Meanwhile, the official maintained that four doctors from the state, who recently graduated from Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal, have been held back by the government of Manipur despite completing their courses and having received their certification.
“They are not willing to release them,” he said.
In this regard, he said he had approached the Government of Nagaland to immediately send a letter asking Manipur government to release the four doctors.