Some Twitter users of late had tweeted about the management of COVID-19 in rural settings. Issues raised in these tweets range from lack of testing, isolation and clinical management facilities at village level, overmedication by healthcare workers, scarcity of PPE etc.
The availability of Rapid Antigen Kit and provision for swabbing for RT-PCR test in a primary health center located in a remote interior village in the hills, as brought out in these tweets, is testimony to the commitment of the Government to manage COVID in rural and far-flung areas. The PHC doctors have been trained in COVID testing protocol as evolved by Indian Council of Medical Research.
Taking note of ingress of COVID-19 cases from peri-urban and rural areas of the country during the resurgence of COVID-19 trajectory in preceding months, the Ministry of Health & Family has issued an SOP on COVID-19 Containment & Management in Peri-urban, Rural & Tribal areas. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare also ensured that these guidelines are widely circulated to the remotest health facilities.
States have been advised explicitly that under no circumstances should patients be isolated at home, if they don’t fulfill the norms stipulated by the home isolation guidelines which focus on adequate number of rooms to self-isolate and the presence of a care giver. Further on insistence of the Central Government, States have developed a stringent mechanism to monitor patients under home isolation on a daily basis. Patients who don’t have the requisite facilities at home, are always advised to be kept in COVID Care Centers for which the Government created over 10 lakh isolation beds across the country.
The Government of India created a large number of manufacturing facilities for production of PPEs. So much so that we are now the second largest manufacturers of PPEs in the world and have the capacity to manufacture about 10 lakh PPEs per day. PPEs have been made available to the States in excess of their demands. Hence the allegation in these tweeted threads that health workers don’t have requisite PPEs is untenable.