Paediatric wards being set up at Covid centres in HP in anticipation of third wave

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Shimla, May 29 (PTI) Paediatric wards and neonatal care units are being set up at Covid centres in Himachal Pradesh to prepare for a potential third wave of the pandemic, a senior state official said on Saturday.

Recently, some experts have warned that the next wave of COVID-19 may affect children more while others have said there is little reason to believe this theory. However, experts concur that there is a need to improve paediatric Covid services in the country.

Keeping in mind the possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Himachal Pradesh government is working to protect vulnerable children on priority and improve paediatric Covid services in the state, Special Secretary (Health) Nipun Jindal said.

A protocol in this regard was shared with districts and medical colleges on May 3, he said.

It is being ensured that special newborn care units (SNCUs), pediatric high dependency units (PHDUs), neonatal intensive care units (NICU) and pediatric intensive care units (PICU) are made functional on a priority basis, he added.

Jindal said the health department is taking serious and focused steps to ensure that vulnerable children are taken care of during the pandemic.

All chief medical officers, principals of medical colleges and medical superintendents of district and civil hospitals and medical colleges have been directed to ensure that every dedicated Covid hospital has a paediatric ward and newborn unit. This can be done by either augmenting the existing facilities or earmarking beds, he said.

The earmarked beds should preferably have oxygen support, he added.

Currently, there are 224 SNCU beds in 16 Covid facilities across the state, Jindal said.

In addition, four newborn stabilisation units (NBSU) at Deen Dayal Upadhayay Hospital, Shimla; Zonal Hospital, Dharamshala; and Nalagarh and Nurpur community health centres (CHCs) in Kangra district are shortly going to be upgraded to SNCUs, he said.

There are seven PHDUs in the state with 34 beds.

Jindal said directions have been issued to ensure emergency triage and treatment services for newborns and children at all levels.

Directions have also been issued to make all non-functional equipment in SNCUs functional at the earliest, he said. PTI DJI DIV DIV

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