Managing Covid-19 Outbreak Needs Optimal Healthcare

Ujjain 06.04.2020. Cases of coronavirus in the world’s second-most populous country have ticked rapidly higher then the past week, raising alarm over the ability of India, with its fragile health-care system and battered economy, to handle a virus crisis of the magnitude of China or Italy.
With its densely packed cities and under-funded medical system, India has little margin for error when it comes to the coronavirus, opined an expert.
Speaking to Blue Eyes, National Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, Advisor and Epidemiologist Dr Naresh Purohit revealed
that the number of confirmed cases in India is now doubling in four days or less. This puts India in line with trajectories of countries across the world.
At this rate of growth, and assuming the 3.4 per cent fatality rate relative to confirmed cases calculated by the World Health Organization, India is headed for nearly a million confirmed cases by the end of May and over 30,000 deaths. These are conservative estimates by WHO.
Dr Purohit expressed his concern and apprehension that such a large-scale lockdown will be difficult to implement, particularly in a place where the poor live in close quarters and the social distancing measures being advocated in the west are almost impossible.
“India acted relatively early to seal off entry points into the country, with international travelers the main vector for the virus global spread. That may have stemmed an influx of cases, but the small infection tally — which puts it below places like Finland and Chile — could be because India is not looking hard enough for new cases, with one of the lowest testing rates in the world.”pointed Dr Purohit
“It took India forty days to reach the first 50 cases, five more days to reach 100 cases, three more days to reach 150 cases and then just two more days to reach 200 cases. ” averred Dr Purohit
“With a ratio of just 0.5 beds per 1,000 people as of 2017, India’s existing healthcare infrastructure will be swamped in the coming months. At the current rate of growth of confirmed covid cases, by mid June 2020, India will be out of hospital beds.The number of critical care beds and ventilators in India is not officially known, but is believed to be sharply lacking. With ICU beds estimated at 68,,000 nationally, if even one out of every 10 cases was to require an ICU bed by the end of May 2020, India would be running at full capacity, if not earlier.”added Dr Purohit
“The country spent just 3.7% of gross domestic product on health care in 2016, putting it in the bottom 25 of nations globally, according to the most recent World Bank Report. On numbers of doctors, nurses and hospital beds, India ranked similarly near the bottom. While there is a growing private hospital sector, nearly 65% of the population has no health insurance, putting significant pressure on the overcrowded, understaffed and sometimes rundown public hospitals.”observed Dr Purohit

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