SRINAGAR: Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam today chaired the maiden meeting of the COVID Apex Management Group to review the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and accordingly calibrate strategies for its control and mitigation.
To scientifically ascertain the medical oxygen demand in Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Secretary directed a detailed audit of oxygen demand across all hospitals and medical institutions. He directed constitution of divisional level teams to conduct the audit within two days and specify the requirement of gaseous oxygen to meet the needs of patients in COVID facilities, non-COVID hospitals, private hospitals, and Army hospitals. It was impressed upon the concerned to also include in the audit the estimation for future increase in COVID dedicated beds taking the existing tally from 4200 to 7000; and facilities to be provided at COVID care centers with at least 7000 oxygen-supported beds.
Similarly, to precisely assess the availability of oxygen in the Union territory through in-house production and imports, Divisional Commissioners were asked to constitute divisional level expert committees to conduct the audit of oxygen generation and storage at various pressure levels. The oxygen supply audit will depict available resources, as well as arrangements, being made to increase supply in the future.
The Chief Secretary also directed establishment of an oxygen war room headed by the Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce with subsidiary war rooms under respective Divisional Commissioner to monitor and manage supply and distribution of oxygen in Jammu and Kashmir by coordinating with suppliers and user agencies. Meanwhile, the Health & Medical Education Department was asked to ensure optimal uses of oxygen across the hospitals with minimal wastage.
Further, Divisional Commissioners were directed to establish 24X7 call centers in Srinagar and Jammu for proper patient management and strict implementation of hospital referral policy. They were asked to advertise the helpline numbers in print, electronic and social media, besides, circulating them among the larger population through bulk text messages by using Swasthya Nidhi data.
It was informed that COVID call centers will be operated by a team supported by medical professionals. They will collect vital information from patients and suitably direct them to triage points for seeking medical advice and assistance. The COVID triage points will be established at district hospitals, CD hospitals at Jammu and Srinagar, and at the emergency blocks of GMC, Jammu/Srinagar, and SKIMS, Srinagar.
The Chief Secretary reiterated strict implementation of hospital referral policy for efficient patient management across the hierarchy of COVID care hospitals with access to tertiary healthcare reserved for critically ill patients. Accordingly, Divisional Commissioners were asked to ensure optimal utilization of resources, wherein the tertiary hospitals would only admit critical COVID patients being referred from district hospitals and walk-in patients would first be evaluated at triage points and suitably referred to proper healthcare facilities based on the severity of infection.
Emphasizing that only vaccination will retard the rate of COVID transmission, the Chief Secretary said that vaccination rate should be maintained. He directed Director, Health Services, Jammu/Kashmir in consultation with Commissioner, Jammu/Srinagar Municipal Corporation to establish mobile vaccination centres with arrangements for AEFI management closer to the residential areas and vaccinate the eligible population amidst ongoing restrictions.
Financial Commissioner, Finance, Financial Commissioner, Health & Medical Education, Principal Secretary, Home, Principal Secretary to Lieutenant Governor, Principal Secretary, Public Works (R&B), Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce, besides, Divisional Commissioners, Kashmir and Jammu, Commissioners, Municipal Corporations, Jammu and Srinagar, Mission Director, National Health Mission along with experts from GMC Jammu, IIT Jammu and SMVDU participated in the meeting.