COVID-19: Bihar launches efforts to save children from third wave
PATNA—The Bihar government has launched health preparations to save children from COVID-19 amid reports that they could be badly affected by its third wave.
As part of the efforts, the state government is increasing the number of beds in the hospitals and also equipping them with all the medical facilities, such as oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, ambulances and other necessary devices.
Health officials said the state government was trying hard to increase the bed capacity in government hospitals and bring it to 40,000 to accommodate as many patients to provide them immediate medical helps.
At presently, the total number of beds in all Covid Care Centres, Dedicated Covid Healthcare Centres and Dedicated Covid Hospitals in the state is 30,343. Out of which, 27,636 beds were occupied by the patients.
“The health department is making all preparations keeping in view the lurking threats of COVID-19. We are making preparations at all level to contain coronavirus and also increase medical facilities in hospitals, Bihar’s health secretary Pratyay Amrit has told the local media.
Officials said their first and foremost priority right now was to provide oxygen facility to every bed and as part of this plan, they were trying to supply oxygen through pipelines by setting up oxygen plants in all 12 Covid hospitals in the state.
After then, piped oxygen supply will be made to every bed in all 94 district covid health centres too. “Works are already in progress to supply oxygen through pipelines in every ward of Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH),” hospital superintendent Dr IS Thakur said.
The health department has focused its attention on arranging beds with all medical facilities for children who, the experts fear, could be mostly affected in the third wave.
Currently, the total beds for children in all the nine medical college hospitals in the state are only 816 which the government is trying to increase. Of the total 816 beds, only 225 have oxygen facilities.
Authorities said they are also reserving good number of beds for children in all the main government hospitals in Patna. According to officials, they have reserved 100 beds each for children in two premier hospitals located in Patna—PMCH and Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS).
Apart from these, another 100 beds for children were being set up in the paediatric ward. Similarly, 150 beds for children are being set up in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna.
In Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), another premier health facility in Patna, a 40-bed ICU for children is being set up.
“We are making arrangements for all the medical equipments to make the ICU for children functional soon keeping in view the third wave. The works are already in full progress,” NMCH superintendent Dr Vinod Kumar Singh said. This is in addition to 15-bed ICU for children in the paediatric ward, he informed.
Apart from these, the government has also begun the process to purchase good number of oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, beds, ambulances and other necessary items.
However, experts are divided over the impact of the third wave on the children. While a section of them fear the third wave will impact the children, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria said there is no clear indication whether children will be severely affected in the third wave of the pandemic.
“It has been said that children will be infected the most in the third wave, but the Paediatrics Association has said that this is not based on facts. It might not impact children so people should not fear,” Guleria has gone on record.
According to him, the children had been only mildly affected in both the first and second wave of the pandemic.