155 Healthcare Staff, Including 64 Doctors, Died Due To Covid-19 Till Sept. 11
Elderly patient being treated for Covid-19 in hospital bed in Russia. (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

155 Healthcare Staff, Including 64 Doctors, Died Due To Covid-19 Till Sept. 11

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As many as 155 healthcare staff, including 64 doctors, have died due to Covid-19, the Parliament was told on Tuesday.

Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey was responding to a question on the number of healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses, support staff and ASHA workers, affected by the disease.

He told Rajya Sabha that health is a state subject and such data is not maintained at the central level.

Choubey, however, said the database of those seeking relief under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance package is maintained at the national level. The scheme provides relief in case of death of such health workers.

A total of 155 healthcare workers died due to Covid-19 as on Sept. 11. These include 21 healthcare workers, including six doctors from Maharashtra, followed by 14 each from Gujarat and West Bengal, and 12 from Arunachal Pradesh and ten from Tamil Nadu, he said.

The minister said the health ministry had provided guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control practices to state governments. The training was conducted for all states in the month of March.

A plan was also conveyed to the states to complete the training up to district level by March 20, 2020, the minister said.

The Training on Infection Prevention and Control was also made available for all categories of healthcare workers on the iGoT platform.

The states were asked to constitute Infection Prevention and Control committees. Hospitals were to identify nodal officers who will monitor healthcare workers and review their exposure status, Choubey said.

High-risk exposures are placed under quarantine for seven days. Based on the exposure/clinical profile of such doctors, nursing officers and other health workers, a decision shall be taken by the Nodal Officer/Head of the Department (or his appointed sub-committee) for a further period of one week.

The Ministry of Health issued an advisory for managing healthcare workers working in Covid and non-Covid areas of hospitals on June 18, Choubey informed the Upper House.

Guidelines on the rational use of personal protective equipment for hospital and community settings (including frontline workers) were issued on March 24. These guidelines followed a risk-based approach and recommended the type of PPE that needs to be used in high and low-risk areas, the minister said in his reply.

The healthcare workers were provided with hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis and prevention of infection, he said.

Also read: Coronavirus Updates: India Reports Lowest Number Of Daily Infections In A Week

N95 masks and triple/double ply masks were brought under price control. Export of PPEs, N95 masks, triple/double ply medical masks, goggles and visors were banned till such time we were self-reliant, the MoS said.

The Union Cabinet approved a package of Rs 15,000 crore under India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package' on April 22.

The states were supported with 9.81 crore tablets of hydroxychloroquine. A total of 28,476 ventilators were supplied to states/UTs, the minister said.

"During the initial stage of the pandemic, there were concerns on the non-availability of protective gears. However, with the Government of India stepping in to enhance capacity and allocating PPE to states as per need, this concern was addressed. States and UTs were provided with 3.05 crore N95 masks and 1.2 crore PPE kits," Choubey added.

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