As many as 2,142 people have complained of psychological symptoms at the post-COVID clinics functioning across Kerala, between October 2020 and June 18 this year.

Doctor examining a COVID-19 patient, both wearing mask Image for Representation
news COVID-19 Thursday, July 01, 2021 - 15:41

The COVID-19 infection, while leaving lasting physical illnesses of different kinds in patients, has impacted their mental health too. As many as 2,142 people have complained of psychological symptoms at the post-COVID clinics functioning across Kerala, between October 2020 and June 18 this year. As per data from the state Health Department, while 98 people reported psychological symptoms between June 11 and 17, the number of people who reported the symptoms in the previous weeks is 92.

“Anxiety disorders are the major psychological issues reported and there’s stress due to fear of contracting COVID-19 that in turn leads to sleep disorders.The stress could also be caused by anxiety over the deaths caused by the disease, the fear of oxygen shortage, etc,” Dr Bipin Gopal, nodal officer, Non-Communicable Diseases, told TNM. A total of 1,185 post-COVID clinics have been opened in the state till June 18. It was by the end of July and beginning of August 2020 that post-COVID symptoms began to be identified in the state. Once the government planned to open post-COVID clinics, training was given by a team of experts from the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital to doctors across the state. These clinics are attached to the Primary, Community and Family Health Centres in the state. As per the government’s guidelines issued in October 2020, these clinics have also been set up at the Taluk, District and General hospitals in the state to function as referral clinics.

The doctors at the post-COVID clinics were asked to keep a register of the cases reported, apart from educating patients on post-COVID complications. Of the people who recovered from COVID-19, 18,745 people complained of respiratory symptoms, 3,379 of cardiac symptoms and 7,939 of musculoskeletal (affecting the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments or muscles) symptoms. Those who complained of neurological symptoms were 3,005 while as many as 10,747 people reported other symptoms.

Post-COVID complications became a cause of worry in the state, both among children and adults, as the number of cases rose. “The symptoms can be both – those that the patients had even before they contracted the infection and those that developed after they contracted COVID-19,” Dr Bipin said. However, the COVID-19 deaths are not reported at these clinics as the severe cases are directly referred to casualty departments, medical college hospitals, etc.

Read: From kids to adults: Post-COVID-19 issues are worrying doctors

Of the people who reported post-COVID complications, 1,453 people were referred to a higher centre (to a Community Health Centre from a Primary Health Centre, to a medical college from a district hospital, etc). Of this, 442 people were admitted to hospitals. While 1,85,059 people accessed the services of the post-COVID clinics at Primary Health Centres, Community Health Centres and Family Health Centres, 30,147 patients followed up with clinics in taluk hospitals, district hospitals and general hospitals. The number of people who called up the clinics and the eSanjeevani telemedicine facility is 1,74,393. The doctors at the clinics were given a refresher training in May this year while a sensitisation session was conducted last year for ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) workers as they interact closely with patients.

Thiruvananthapuram has the highest number of post-COVID clinics in the state at 112. The number of the clinics in other districts is as follows:

Kollam – 83

Pathanamthitta – 61

Alappuzha – 89

Kottayam – 83

Idukki – 50

Ernakulam – 128

Thrissur – 105

Palakkad – 73

Malappuram – 115

Kozhikode – 91

Wayanad – 36

Kannur – 103

Kasaragod – 56

 

 
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