Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today visited All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi to review their COVID-19 preparedness in light of recent surge of COVID cases in the Capital. He also interacted with the patients under care at the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre (JPNATC) of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
Dr Harsh Vardhan held a detail review meet on the availability of beds/oxygenated beds at the general/ICU wards with the heads of the various departments engaged in treating COVID and non-COVID medical conditions taking note of difficulties faced by them and their colleagues in carrying out their present duties.
Praising the contributions of the Corona Warriors at the outset, Dr. Harsh Vardhan observed that with fundamentals of the viral disease known, the task ahead would be comparatively easy: “I am happy to know that our warriors are not only aware but also concerned over the present situation. I am here to discuss the present situation and what can be the future scenario so that we can take pro-active, pre-emptive and graded response like last year. It’s not like we have not faced the problems in 2020. But, in 2021, we have more experience; more knowledge and understanding about the disease as compared to last year. Last year, you not only helped the patients here but fellow doctors across the country through teleconsultations.”
The Union health Minister highlighted the journey traversed by India in becoming self-sufficient in medical equipment. He said, “I remember our condition on 5th April 2020 when we didn’t have PPE Kits, Ventilators and N95 Masks. We were unfairly criticised all over the world for a perceived lack of health infrastructure. With significant ramping up of infrastructure and production capabilities, we have come a long way. We defeated the virus when we did not know much about it and can do it again with our one year of experience.”
On the importance of attending to non-COVID cases at the time of the pandemic, Dr. Harsh Vardhan observed “We have to also think about Non-COVID Diseases. We should not neglect and let their treatment get affected. We are now equipped with all measures; we need to just think about how to overcome the present unfortunate situation. We need to think about developing new models that can be implemented and replicated in other parts of the country. I want all of you to provide a good quality solutions. I will try my best to help you in implementing it. The country has high hopes from you.”
He thereafter visited the patient ward of the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre (JPNATC) of AIIMS, New Delhi (Dedicated COVID Hospital) and interacted with many patients under treatment. He assured them of the best possible care.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also interacted with the media afterwards and used the occasion to remind people of the many virtues of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB): “Our biggest fight this time is to teach COVID appropriate behaviour to the people. People have adopted a casual approach which is very dangerous. COVID Appropriate behaviour is the biggest social tool we have to break the chain.” In order to encourage the public from following CAB in the quest for a COVID free environment, he put out statistics that demonstrate the diligence of the general public along with the hard-work of healthcare and frontline workers: “India has 52 districts with no fresh cases in 7 days, 34 districts with no fresh cases in 14 days, 4 districts with no fresh cases in 21 days and 44 districts with no fresh cases in 28 days.” He also detailed steps taken by the Union government to stop black marketing of drugs like Remdesivir and Itolizumab.
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS and other senior doctors accompanied the Union Minister during the comprehensive review visit.