Amid apprehensions of COVID-19 infections impacting the children, the Odisha government has decided to put in place the designated ‘Pediatric Covid Wing’ in the Dedicated Covid Health Centres (DCHCs) and Dedicated Covid Hospital (DCHs) of the State.
At least 15% of beds will be initially reserved in the Isolation Ward, Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) at the Paediatric Covid Wings to meet with the future challenges. The premiere Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics in Cuttack, Chief District Medical Officers, Public Health Officers, Collectors and Municipal Commissioners have been directed to ensure the reservation of beds for COVID-infected kids, said Additional Chief Secretary of Health and Family Welfare department PK Mohaptra.
Currently the situation is yet to assume alarming proportions in Odisha as the contagion has largely spared the kids in both the first and second wave of COVID-19. A total of 35,024 children in the 0-14 age group have so far contracted the virus, which accounts for 5.05 percent of cumulative infections of the State. The State has reported 6,92,382 positive cases till date.
Neonates, infants and other paediatric age groups will undergo treatment at the dedicated Covid wing. Considering the future situations more beds will be added to the dedicated Covid wing, said officials.
The government has also decided to create Covid-19 newborn unit in existing Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU)/neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with strict isolation and infection prevention and control measures. One of the parents will be allowed to remain as an attendant.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics (SVPGIP) in Cuttack, popularly called as Sishu Bhawan, will act as the nodal centre for monitoring of the pediatric covid units.
All private hospitals and hospitals run by corporate houses, NGOs, missionaries and philanthropic organizations are also required to create such facilities, said the officials.
While the rate of infection among children has been on a lower side in the first and second wave, public health experts apprehend the children to be the most vulnerable section of the population in the third wave.