As the coronavirus cases in India rises to 275, Republic TV's Editor Niranjan Narayanswamy spoke to Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, the Chairman and Executive Director of Narayana Health, about his proposal on tackling the outbreak. Dr. Shetty, a cardiac surgeon with around 34 years of experience, explained that the government has already taken pro-active steps but the upcoming plan of action should be focussing on infrastructure and man-power.
He said speaking about increasing manpower that this outbreak of coronavirus can be tackled only by a young team. He said, "The other solution is we have to look at training young postgraduates to work in the ICU now and also there is a huge number of doctors who are trained in Russia or China, in various medical colleges, they should be given a temporary license because this war can only be fought with young doctor young nurses, it is not safe for old doctors who work in this COVID hospital. We have to re-look at the man-power, re-look at infrastructure, oxygen support, some European countries have also run out of oxygen, we are not an exception. We have to create that infrastructure in all those hospitals."
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When asked if it is feasible to create an Emergency workforce, Dr. Shetty explained, "All this can be done within two weeks. This is possible. It requires oxygen line, COVID patients can not be treated with oxygen cylinders because these people require a high flow of oxygen, it is not hygienic to bring cylinder in and out of the ICU. So we need to start piping all hospitals with oxygen line to run the ventilator. Place order for the ventilators. We need to look at internally how we could get ventilators on a war footing because foreign countries have banned supply. It takes time, we are privileged because our government started taking action well before time. But the next phase is creating an infrastructure.
He also said that he is working with the Karnataka state government which is pro-active. "We are already in the phase of sorting it out here, but I am concerned about all the other states where I do not have direct access. The NITI Aayog and the Government is already in dialogue with the ventilator companies so all things are happening, state govt should take responsibility, groundwork needs to be done locally. We still have time," he added.