Delhi hospitals ramping up infra for a possible third wave of COVID-19, focus on child care

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New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) Hospitals across Delhi have started ramping up infrastructure to ensure availability of essential equipment, drugs and ICU beds for children as part of their plan to tackle a possible third wave of the coronavirus.

The Delhi government has set up a task force to suggest measures to protect children from the third wave. Most of the hospitals are focussing on ramping up their ICU beds and facilities for children, amid fears that the third wave might be fatal for them.

Dr P K Bhardwaj, Chief Executive Director of Saroj Super Specialty Hospital in Rohini, said the plan is to improve the infrastructure in the paediatric ICU and neonatal ICU.

The hospital has been preparing infrastructure keeping in mind that an attendant will have to be kept with their Covid-positive child, he said.

'So, there will be two partitions in a room for the parent and the kid,” Dr Bhardwaj said.

The number of beds in neonatal unit will be increased from 10 at present to around 20.

The capacity of the paediatric ICU and high-dependency unit will be tripled, he added.

The hospital has already started procuring oxygen masks, high-flow nasal cannulas, special ventilators and BIPAP machines for children, he said.

'The facility will also hire more neonatologists and paediatric intensivists. We have one intensivist at present, we have to have minimum three,” Dr Bhardwaj said.

Dr Chandrashekhar, the head of the paediatric intensive care at Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital in Malviya Nagar, said the number of paediatric ICU beds at the facility can be increased to 30 from 25 at present, if need arises.

In case a child aged below one month gets infected, he/she can be accommodated in the 40-bed neonatal ICU at the hospital.

However, there has hardly been any case of child that age getting infected.

'We expect more cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and are ramping up our technical and manpower support and taking steps to ensure enough quantity of essential drugs and oxygen,' he said.

The hospital is likely to create oxygen storage capacity on its premises and can also tie up with neighbouring hospitals having oxygen plants, he said.

Sources from Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals said that the hospital has existing arrangements with two vendors who would meet any increased requirement for liquid medical oxygen in future.

Moreover, the hospital has installed an oxygen generator plant to meet its requirements of cylinders through the support of the French government. The hospital is also exploring the creation of an LMO generation plant in keeping with the directions of the Delhi High Court and the Delhi government, sources told PTI.

The Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital had recorded around 40 cases of 'severe' coronavirus infection among children during the second wave and around 15 of them were aged below one year.

Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of LNJP, said the hospital is making more ICU beds for children and a special ICU for them.

'All the 1500 bed will have piped oxygen. Currently, 1100 beds have piped oxygen and for the rest, we rely on cylinders. But we will do away with the cylinders,' he said.

Dr Rajiv Sherwal, medical director of the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital and Chacha Nehru Bal Shikitsalaya, said the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital is likely to have its own oxygen generation plant within a week. Beds are being kept aside of children and procurement of medical equipment for children is also being done. PTI GVS/SLB SMN SMN

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