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Health Department taking focused steps for ensuringcare of vulnerable children

A Spokesperson of Health Department informed here today that keeping in mind the anticipated third wave of Covid pandemic, it has become a priority of the Government to protect vulnerable children and to address pediatric Covid case management in the State. He added that the protocol for the management of paediatric group has already been shared with the Districts and the Medical Colleges on 3rd May, 2021. However the Health Department is taking serious and focused steps to ensure that the vulnerable children are taken care of, in this pandemic.

He said that it was being ensured that SNCUs, Pediatric HDUs, NICU, PICUs must be made functional on priority basis. He further informed that all the Chief Medical Officers, Principals of Medical Colleges and Medical Superintendents of District Hospitals and Civil Hospitals and Medical Colleges have been directed to ensure the availability of paediatric ward and newborn units in dedicated Covid Hospitals either by augmentation of existing facilities or ear-marking the beds in existing facilities. It shall be ensured that these beds shall be preferably supported by central oxygen supply. Presently there are 224 SNCU beds in 16 facilities across the State. In addition, four New Born Stabilization Unit at DDU Shimla, ZH Dharamshala, CHC Nalagarh and CH Nurpur, District Kangra are shortly going to be upgraded to Sick Newborn Care Unit. Also there are seven Pediatric High Dependency Units in the State which have 34 beds.

He further added that directions have been given to make an appropriate emergency triage and treatment services for newborn and paediatric patients at all levels. The diagnostic consumables, oxygen support, referral support, telemedicine facility are required to be made available in all the designated facilities. The Human Resource staffing plan for Paediatricians, Medical Officers, Staff Nurses involved in paediatric care has to be made by the Hospital in charges. The department has also given directions to make all the non functional equipment in SNCU, functional at the earliest.

Psycho Social Support to Covid affected people in the State through NIMHANS

A Spokesperson of Health Department informed here today that Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Science (NIMHANS), Bengaluru has setup a 24X7 Psychosocial Support Helpline (80-46110007).

He said that the mental health professionals from 19 States /UTs are providing their services through this helpline. All the Deputy Commissioners and Chief Medical Officers have been requested to publicize the number of National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Bengaluru which is 80-46110007. This mental helpline shall help in providing mental and psychosocial support to the Covid patients, their contacts and families and also to the general public. In addition to this, he said that various advisories, guidelines and educative material in the form of creative and Audio Video spots on promotion of mental health and management of stress and anxiety have been prepared by the ministry of health and family welfare which is available on the website https//www.mohfw.gov.in.

He further informed that all the concerned district administrators have been asked to create awareness about this helpline and also use IEC awareness material from the said website in order to manage the mental health and management of mental health and anxiety during Covid-19. He further added that this global pandemic is not only a serious medical concern, but also has brought many mental health and psycho-social concerns in the population. The vulnerable population includes children and adolescents, Covid positive patients, families who have had Covid deaths and many more.

He said that the people in general are facing a heightened level of stress, anxiety and fearfulness, along with a range of other emotional and behavioral issues. Adverse mental health has a reciprocal relationship with the well-being and productivity of a society. He appealed that in case of any psychosocial support required, the people in need should avail the organized and institutionalized help in the form of 104 helpline or the Psychosocial Support Helpline.

Near to Home CVC to provide Covid-19 vaccination services for Elderly and differently Abled Citizens

A Spokesperson of Health Department said here today as per the communication made by the Government of India, the idea of taking Covid vaccination centres closer to the homes had engaged the Central Ministry’s attention for sometime and a committee constituting of domain knowledge experts and doctors have examined this issue based on scientific evidence. The committee suggested against door to door vaccination, however, they have recommended a more flexible and people centric approach to cater to special needs of elderly and differently abled citizens.

Accordingly, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) has approved the strategy of near to home CVC for elderly and differently abled citizens and the same has been shared with the States. As per this strategy, near to home Covid vaccination centre (NHCVC) will be organized especially for elderly and differently abled persons and the District Task Force under the respective Deputy Commissioner will decide the location of NHCVC to maximize the reach of services based upon the listing of target population. NHCVC will be linked to an existing CVC for vaccination purposes.

He added that as per this strategy, vaccination drive will be more accessible to elderly and differently abled citizens, who may not be able to travel to the existing Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs), such beneficiaries can now be offered Covid-19 vaccination at Near to Home Covid-19 Vaccination Centres (NHCVC). The NHCVC follows a community based approach where the sessions can be conducted nearer to home e.g. at Community Centre, Resident Welfare Association Centre, Group Housing Society Centre, Panchayat Building, school building etc . for the elderly and differently abled citizens. The guidance for Near to Home Covid Vaccination Centres for Elderly and Differently Abled Citizen has been developed keeping in mind the safety as well as convenience of the beneficiaries.

He further informed that all the districts have been asked to adopt this strategy for the convenience of elderly and differently abled citizens in the State of Himachal Pradesh.

National Covid-19 Vaccination drive was initiated on 16th January 2021 as an important initiative to curb the spread of the pandemic as well as to reduce the mortality due to Covid-19 disease. The vaccination drive was sequentially expanded for prioritized age groups and now covers all people aged 18 years and above. There has been a constant effort to make this drive people – centric, accessible to all and seamless.