Based on the symptoms and health condition of patients, district officials decide where to send those who have tested positive.

Jagan Mohan Reddys bust image beside a map of Andhra Pradesh coloured in red
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 20:37

The number of COVID-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh has been on a surge and the total number of cases in the state has crossed one lakh ten thousand. This makes Andhra Pradesh the fourth state in the country to have crossed one lakh positive cases. With the hope to reduce the mounting pressure on the state’s medical infrastructure, the Andhra Pradesh government has introduced a triage system to deal with COVID-19 patients. 

What is the triage system?

Triage can be defined as the system of assignment of degrees of urgency to cases to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients. In regards to the present pandemic, the health of patients is monitored at their homes. ANMS and village volunteers keep a track of blood pressure, diabetes and other health parameters etc. If someone tests positive, depending on the symptoms, the concerned officers decide where to treat the patient. 

Explaining about COVID care centres, Dr K Rambabu, General Physician and Professor of Medicine, who is also the state COVID coordinator, said, “In Andhra Pradesh, every district has COVID care centres and they constitute around 60,000 beds in the entire state. Several schools, colleges, vacant complexes, etc. have been identified as COVID care centres. Each COVID care centre has doctors and nurses available in three shifts. Depending on the seriousness of the symptoms, the patients will be asked to either stay in home isolation or be moved to one of the COVID care centres. Patients with severe symptoms and complication will be moved to the state COVID centres”

The district administrations were informed to begin using the triage system in all the COVID care centres. All District Collectors have already been directed to identify more centres to be used as COVID care centres in each district. Speaking about the triage system introduced in Srikakulam, the district Collector, J Nivas said, “Last week we began using the triage system at all the COVID care centres. Srikakulam presently has three centres and preparations for another seven centres are being looked into. Nodal officers have been appointed to look after these COVID care centres.”    

Bifurcated six years ago, Andhra Pradesh is still struggling to improve its public healthcare system. Speaking about the present condition of the public healthcare system in the state, PV Ramesh, who was till recently the Additional Chief Secretary to Jagan Mohan Reddy, said, “It is very difficult for a state to build a good public healthcare system in a short span of time. A good public healthcare system needs to have good capacity and also the trust of the people of the state. Medicines, PPE kits, beds, etc can be procured but the manpower is the biggest challenge. Moreover, we have a rapacious private sector which has always seen any health emergency or a crisis as an opportunity to exploit and extract."

"Jagan Mohan Reddy has phenomenally focussed on health and education. But one year is too short a time. In the last five years, the public health system has been completely neglected and there was a conscious promotion of privatisation of the public healthcare system,” added PV Ramesh.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy instructed the officials to admit COVID-19 patients within 30 minutes, failing which he said action would be initiated. It was during a Spandana review meeting with District Collectors and SPs through a video conference that the Chief Minister emphasized on the same. He also said that Collectors and Joint Collectors would be held responsible for any negligence. He instructed the officials to monitor the facilities being provided to the patients and not to take any backsteps on expenditure.

So far, around 32,000 beds have been made available in 128 district COVID-19 hospitals and 8,000 beds in the state COVID-19 hospitals. In the next six months, the state plans to recruit around 17,000 doctors and staff to treat COVID-19 patients.

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