THE Gonoshashthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury has come up with a suggestion for the government to roll out mobile medical teams for primary treatment of Covid patients at the home. The idea that the Gonoshashtaya Kendra founder broached appears to be a pragmatic approach in tackling the extreme rush of Covid patients when hospitals, both in the capital city and in outlying districts, are overwhelmed. With a slight decline in the number of daily Covid death after it has remained above 100 for fourth straight days and a growing number of Covid cases, the situation does not seem to subside soon as experts fear. When Covid patients are shuttling between hospitals for a bed, it would be wise for the government to set up mobile teams or clinics that will offer primary treatment for Covid patients and could even run tests for Covid infection. As Covid cases started to increase in March, the government has on April 14 enforced a set of strict restrictions, now extended until April 28, on public movement and businesses as part of a preventive measure against Covid infection. Mobile medical teams or clinics will only complement the government efforts to ease the Covid burden on the public health system.
While mobile teams for primary treatment for Covid infection will help to improve on Covid management, it will also help to head off further spread in a way as patients, especially cases of mild infection, may not need to rush to hospitals or shuttle between them that could expose them to chances for infection. The government may need to put in more efforts to manage volunteers and shelve out money to make it happen but it is highly likely to pay in the long run. The government may also need to train physicians and nurses properly in Covid protocol so that they could effectively administer treatment to people who need it. This may be a new initiative that could help the government to better prepare for such occasions in the future, but the government has had the experience of running mobile medical teams or clinics in cases of natural disasters such as flooding to cater to the medical needs of the affected. The government first needs to draw up a rapid Covid response protocol and put together teams with physicians, nurses and volunteers, train them and send the teams to who need them. If the government can use the antigen and antibody tests, the teams may carry out such tests area-wise, which might give the government a better insight into the situation for a better Covid mitigation plan.
The government must, therefore, weigh the suggestion in earnest and speak to other stakeholders to decide the protocol and the introduction of mobile teams or clinics for a rapid Covid response plan so that the growing number of Covid cases could be effectively reduced. The government must understand that such a mechanism may also effectively ease the burden on health facilities, public or private.
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