Naveen seeks advice of top health experts on strategy to tackle pandemic

Bhubaneswar : Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought the advice of top health experts of the country on the strategy to tackle the future waves of the covid pandemic and on how to strengthen the healthcare system further.

Addressing the first Vaccination Advisory Committee meeting of the State here on Friday, Mr Patnaik said, “We need to fine-tune our processes the defeat the Corona virus with your advice”.

Eminent health experts and doctors, Dr K Srinath Reddy (Chairman), Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Ramakanta Panda, Dr Subrat Acharya, Dr Lalit Kant, Dr Mrudula Phadke, Dr Subrata Acharya Dr Datteswar Hota, Dr E Venkat Rao, Dr Sanghamitra Pati, Dr MR Patnaik Dr Ajay Parida and Dr CVK Mohanty (Convenor) attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting on a virtual platform, the Chief Minister appreciated and thanked all the expert members for accepting the invitation.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated families, communities and economies across the World. In India, the second wave has caused so much turmoil that people are very scared about the future, Mr Patnaik remarked.

On top of it, the lockdowns and their effect on the economy, has also caused great financial pressure on many families and businesses, the Chief Minister said.The people today need the counsel of reputed respected experts like you to tell them words of wisdom and courage to withstand this onslaught of the virus and motivate them to continue the fight, he said.

In a situation in Odisha, Patnaik said the state has been able to provide timely help to the Covid patients and take care of their health care requirement to a large extent.

“We have been able to manage the oxygen support systems and even provided help to other states for their oxygen systems. We have been able to manage without our health care systems getting over overwhelmed”, he added.

Patnaik claimed that the current trend of the Covid cases is on a decline across the state except for a few districts. The second wave is beginning to recede, he said adding now the focus should be on vaccination. The state government intend to utilise all resources to quickly vaccinate the people, the Chief Minister said.

Expressing his concern, on the next wave, he said that all of us are concerned about the next wave and if it’s going to affect the children and if it’s true, then we will have to be better prepared since taking care of the children in the hospitals is a big challenge.

Chairman of the Committee Dr K Srinath Reddy advised on different strategies for advance planning which could possibly be taken up as per the advice of the expert doctors. Making a presentation on the Covid 19 situation in Odisha, Prof. Venkat Rao made a comparison between the first wave and the second wave in the state.

He said that Odisha has dedicated Covid hospitals to treat the patients and over ten thousand hospital beds with sufficient ICU facilities.Dr Rao said two crore people in the age group of 18-44 need vaccination and this is a challenge as the Government of India is providing vaccines for 45 plus people.

Dr Lalit Kant said USA has a large number of unused vaccine doses which they may not use and suggested that Odisha may look for Astrazenica vaccines from USA, Dr Ramakanta Panda said Odisha has the best experience in managing disaster. The virus, he said likely to stay for long like Flu.

He advised for ramping up the capacity, safe, clean Oxygen delivery, especially the use of medical-grade oxygen for Black Fungus, decentralisation of health system and dedicated infrastructure like cyclone shelter. Dr Devi Shetty appreciated the Odisha Government for being the first State to announce free vaccine for the age group of 18-44.

He said that vaccination is better than lockdown. The cost-effectiveness of the vaccination is far far better than lockdown.

Dr Shetty advised priority in vaccination on the basis of occupation rather than age group and said this is the best time to conduct examinations as the cases are going down.

Dr Mrudula Fadke advised focusing on vaccination of pregnant and lactating mother. Dr Subrat Acharya advised for focus on rural area and migrating population and IEC campaign for vaccination.

Additional Chief Secretary (Health) PK Mohapatra made a presentation on the fight against Covid in Odisha.