Starting vaccination with frontline warriors paid rich dividends; ensured safety of doctors during 2nd wave: Modi

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New Delhi, May 17 (PTI) Asserting that the strategy of starting the vaccination programme with frontline warriors has paid rich dividends in the second wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the vaccines have ensured the safety of most of the doctors as 90 percent of health professionals have already taken its first dose.

In an interaction with a group of doctors via video-conferencing, Modi said be it testing, supply of medicines or setting up new infrastructure in 'record time', all these are being done at a fast pace, according to a statement.

His assertions came amid criticism from opposition parties of his government's vaccination programme and also alleged poor handling of the second wave of the pandemic.

Noting that challenges of oxygen production and supply are being overcome, Modi said steps taken by the country to augment human resources, like including MBBS students in COVID treatment and ASHAs and Anganwadi workers in rural areas, provided extra support to the health system.

The prime minister also thanked the entire medical fraternity and paramedical staff for the 'exemplary fight displayed by them against the extraordinary circumstances' of the second wave, adding that the entire country is indebted to them.

He urged doctors to include oxygen audit in their daily efforts.

Noting that a large number of patients are undergoing treatment in home isolation, he asked the doctors to ensure that the home-based care of every patient is SOP driven.

He said telemedicine has played a big role for patients in home isolation, adding that this service needs to be expanded in rural areas as well.

Praising doctors who formed teams and are providing telemedicine service in villages, Modi appealed to the fraternity across states to form similar teams, train final year MBBS students and MBBS interns, and work towards ensuring that all tehsils and districts of the country have this service.

Touching on the challenge of mucormycosis, he said doctors may need to put in extra effort towards taking active steps to deal with it and spread awareness about it.

Underscoring the importance of psychological care along with physical care, he said continuously fighting this long battle against the virus must be mentally challenging for the medical fraternity but the power of faith of citizens stands with them.

During the interaction, doctors thanked Modi for his guidance and leadership during the recent surge of cases, the statement said.

The doctors shared their experiences, best practices and the innovative efforts they took to deal with the pandemic.

Every effort is also being made to take proper care of non-Covid patients, they said, sharing their experiences of increasing awareness among the public, including about sensitising patients against improper use of medicines.

In a tweet, Modi later said, 'Interacted with doctors across India. They shared insightful inputs, based on their own experiences of curing COVID-19. The determination of our doctors during these times is remarkable!' PTI KR RT RT