Rural surveillance to curb surge, med kits for infected, care centre in every village

Rural surveillance to curb surge, med kits for infected, care centre in every village

The grieving family of a patient who died of Covid in Prayagraj. PTI

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16

The government today ordered surveillance of every village to detect influenza-like illness and isolate symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals as per ICMR’s Covid clinical protocol.

Issuing detailed guidelines on Covid containment in villages, the Health Ministry said villages must give home isolation medical kits to the Covid-infected, besides arranging oximeters and thermometers.

Covid Management norms for rural areas

  • Surveillance in every village to detect influenza-like illness
  • Isolate all symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals
  • Those infected must be given home isolation medical kits
  • Developing a system of providing oximeters, thermometers on loan

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States have also been advised to set up a minimum 30-bed Covid care centre in every village to handle asymptomatic cases with comorbidities or mild cases where home isolation is not feasible.

Such centres should also have a basic life-support ambulance equipped with oxygen support on 24x7 basis for ensuring safe transport of patients to dedicated higher facilities, if the symptoms progress from mild to moderate or severe.

The Centre said identified suspected Covid cases should link for testing to health facilities either through Covid-19 rapid antigen testing or by referral of samples to the nearest Covid-19 testing laboratory.

As of today, the country has 2,542 laboratories nationally to test Covid (1,252 government and 1,290 private), while there are 6 lakh villages revealing a big testing challenge in rural India. The ministry has directed states to train community health officers and auxiliary nurses and midwives to conduct rapid antigen test.

“With larger spread of Covid-19 cases in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas, it is important to ensure that community-based services and primary level health infrastructure in these areas are equipped and oriented to manage Covid-19 cases,” the guidelines state.

Symptomatic cases can be triaged at village level by teleconsultation with community health officer and cases with comorbidity and low oxygen saturation should be sent to higher centres. Every sub-centre should run influenza OPD for a dedicated time slot per day.

“The asymptomatic persons with a history of high-risk exposure to Covid patients (exposure of over 15 minutes without a mask within 6 feet distance) must be quarantined and tested as per ICMR protocol, the government said adding that depending on the intensity of surge and number of cases, contact tracing should also be done.”

“A system of providing oximeters and thermometers on loan to families with a confirmed case of Covid should be developed through ASHA and anganwadi workers and village-level volunteers,” said the government advising referral to dedicated Covid facility if oxygen level falls below 94 per cent.

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