COVID-19: Mock drill across states, UTs on Tuesday to ensure readiness of health facilities

A mock drill will be held on Tuesday across a number of health facilities in several states and Union territories to ensure their readiness to deal with any eventuality related to COVID-19, following an advisory by the Centre.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will visit Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday to take stock of the mock drill to be conducted there.

At a meeting with doctors from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday, the minister said, “Based on our previous experience of managing this pandemic, we are undertaking several exercises, one such being the mock drill that will happen across the country tomorrow. Such exercises would help our operational readiness, help in filling gaps if any and will consequently strengthen our public health response.” The exercise will focus on parameters such as availability of health facilities in all districts, capacity of isolation beds, oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds and ventilator-supported beds, and optimal availability of doctors, nurses, paramedics, AYUSH doctors, and other frontline workers, including ASHA and Anganwadi workers.

It will also focus on human resource capacity in terms of healthcare professionals trained on COVID-19 management, healthcare professionals trained in ventilatory management protocol for severe cases, healthcare workers trained in operation of PSA plants, etc. and availability of Advanced and Basic Life Support (ALS/BLS) ambulances, testing equipment and reagents and that of essential drugs among others.

Referring to the surge in COVID-19 trajectory in many countries around the world, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday underlined that it was necessary that in all states and UTs requisite public health measures are put in place to meet any exigencies.

“Preparedness of COVID-19 health facilities is crucial to ensure that states and districts are in a state of readiness to meet increase in clinical care needs due to any spurt in cases,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter.

“The objective of this exercise is to ensure operational readiness of these health facilities for management of COVID-19,” he said.

Bhushan further said follow-up on any gap assessment shall be required to be undertaken by the additional chief secretary, principal secretary, secretary (health) and or MD-NHM of states who will also be required to monitor the exercise personally under the overall guidance of the health minister of respective states.

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday activated the administrative machinery to test Covid preparedness and management, including conduct of mock drills at medical colleges and hospitals across the state, after two fresh cases were reported from Unnao and Agra.

Delhi government officials on Monday began physically visiting all government hospitals in the city to ascertain their preparedness to deal with any eventuality in view of the surge in Covid cases in some countries, the authorities said.

“We have started physically visiting all government hospitals. An inventory of beds, liquid medical oxygen, ventilators and other equipment is being prepared. It will be ready by Monday evening,” East Delhi District Magistrate Anil Banka said.

A mock drill will be conducted across all city government hospitals on Tuesday following the Centre’s directions.

India saw a single-day rise of 196 new coronavirus infections, while the active cases have marginally increased to 3,428, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The tally of Covid cases was recorded at 4.46 crore.