Ensure availability of medicines for treating black fungus in rural areas: Punjab CM to health dept

·3-min read

Chandigarh, May 20 (PTI) The Punjab government on Thursday instructed the health department to ensure availability of necessary medicines for treating black fungus at all the government hospitals in rural areas.

Mucormycosis or black fungus is a fungal infection and Punjab has witnessed some cases in COVID patients in Ludhiana and Amritsar.

The Punjab government on Wednesday had notified Mucormycosis as a disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, an official statement said.

The chief minister asked the health department to depute doctors at the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in the villages to ensure early detection and treatment of the disease.

Stressing that early detection of the disease could prevent it from being fatal, Singh asked the expert COVID team headed by Dr KK Talwar to ensure that doctors in the level-3 facilities of all government hospitals are directed on proper treatment of coronavirus patients to check irrational use of steroids, which has been identified as the main cause of this disease, especially among diabetic patients.

Excessive use of steroids in coronavirus treatment was causing problems, Dr Talwar told the COVID review meeting chaired by the chief minister, according to a government statement.

He said the doctors were being guided to use substitutes and the expert group was trying to finalise a line of treatment with substitutes and alternates.

The chief minister also asked Dr Talwar and his team to analyse why patients were returning to hospitals even after recovering from COVID.

In the first phase, the state did not report any cases of black fungus, even though incidence of the same was reported from several other states.

The chief minister also ordered the health department to go into mission mode with preparation, including specialised training of all doctors by the end of June, while directing house-to-house surveillance to control the current spread of the disease in the rural areas.

The directions came amid projections and concerns of a possible third wave of COVID and its impact on children.

Reviewing the COVID situation in the state during the virtual meeting, Singh directed Talwar to look into all aspects of medical education, and to get training modules prepared for the health department.

He underlined the need to ensure that all medical officers in the state are trained to deal with COVID, especially in children.

Expressing concern over the spread of COVID in rural areas, the chief minister emphasised that teams of health and other departments should immediately start house-to-house surveillance in every village.

The teams should be equipped to give basic medicines without delay, and RAT (rapid antigen test) testing of symptomatic persons must be done at the earliest, he said.

Health Minister Balbir Sidhu suggested establishment of Rapid Response Teams and involvement of RMP (registered medical practitioners) doctors in monitoring in the rural areas to check the spread of the cases.

Talwar said to ensure that the cases continue to decline, the current restrictions should be followed for the next 2-3 weeks.

He disclosed that while the genome sequencing of the March samples had shown 96 per cent UK variant, only one double mutant case was found in the April samples. PTI CHS VSD TDS TDS