Hyderabad: The ever-evolving nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, in terms of testing, tracking and treating positive patients and framing new strategies to contain SARS-CoV-2, has made public health officials in the State open to quick decisions, aimed at course correcting the response to the outbreak.
One such decision that happened in the last few months and is proving to be a boon for patients is decentralisation of Covid-19 testing and treatment facilities from Hyderabad to the districts. At present, Government hospitals are able to provide all Covid care facilities to patients in the districts itself, bringing down dependence on health care facilities in Hyderabad.
During the early days of Covid-19 outbreak in March and April, almost 80 per cent of the suspected and positive Covid cases were from Hyderabad and suburban areas. A few cases that were reported in the districts were transported to Gandhi Hospital for treatment and for quarantine.
However, as months passed-by and lockdown was gradually phased-out, the positive cases in districts steadily started to rise and it became quite clear that the State-run tertiary hospitals in Hyderabad including Gandhi Hospital, Fever Hospital, Chest Hospital in Erragadda and District Hospital in King Koti were not enough to take patient load.
Authorities quickly realised that it was important to develop isolation facilities and manpower capability in districts. “For the past few months, our entire exercise was focussed on ensuring that Covid-19 testing, treatment and isolating process was taken-up at District and Area Hospital. In fact, we made it clear to our senior doctors in districts only to refer very severe cases to Gandhi Hospital. At present, yes, we have managed to decentralise Covid care in Telangana,” says Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr K Ramesh Reddy.
Testing and treatment facilities
After the initial focus in Hyderabad, many State and private Covid testing facilities have come up in districts. Private and public RT-PCR and CB-NAAT testing facilities are now available at Warangal, Siddipet, Adilabad, Mahabubnagar, Nizamabad, Suryapet, Gadwal, Kothagudem and Karimnagar.
“Apart from Area and District Hospitals, where RT-PCR and CB-NAAT testing is available, almost all the PHCs in the districts are now offering rapid antigen tests for diagnosis. There are isolation beds also available in all the Area and District Hospitals,” Director of Public Health, Dr G Srinivasa Rao said. The local DM&HOs and Superintendents of Area and District Hospitals are tracking patients and depending in their severity also taking-up admissions.
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