Covid-19: Karnataka government to ramp up medical facilities for children | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: With a potential third wave of Covid-19 likely to hit Karnataka in the next three to six months, the state government is preparing an action plan to ramp up the health infrastructure, especially children’s hospitals and ICU beds. Multiple experts have said that children will face a higher risk of infection in the third wave than they have so far.
Members of two expert committees, formed to suggest ways to prevent morbidity and mortality in the paediatric stage, held a preliminary round of deliberations in the city on Friday. BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that proposals were being drawn up to establish children’s hospitals and increase the number of ICU beds in existing facilities.
After facing severe criticism for its handling of the second wave, the government is moving quickly to reduce the risks for children as virus mutations and their impact on younger age groups are not clear. So far, kids (0-9 years) have been relatively protected. According to the state health department’s data, around 76,000 children have tested positive for Covid-19 since March last year and 57 aged below 10 have died. In the 10-19 age group, there have been 1.9 lakh cases and 75 deaths. The state’s overall tally of infections stood at 25.6 lakh on Saturday.
“Though it is not clear what will be the third wave’s impact on children, the epidemiological pattern suggests that they may be at risk,” a health official said.
Members of the expert panels told STOI that multiple subcommittees had been formed and asked to submit reports on how to handle possible paediatric emergencies. “They have been directed to give detailed reports on paediatric ICU availability in the state, number of trained nurses and intensivists, and requirement of additional and upgraded infrastructure,” a member said. Another member said that there were about 2,000 paediatricians in Karnataka, and this was a concern.
A few weeks ago, experts discussed the care children might need after recovering from Covid-19. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MISC) is associated with Covid-19. It occurs after two to three weeks of Covid recovery, and typical symptoms are swelling in the hands and feet, highgrade fever, rashes and red eyes. “The need is to educate parents about the warning signs,” said another member. One sub-committee is tracking Covid vaccine manufacturers’ clinical trials among children.
The government is considering a special policy in anticipation of the third wave. “We are looking at fully vaccinating both the parents to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to children. We will also focus on increasing the supply of medicines needed for paediatric Covid treatment,” said an official. Another official said that the government was thinking about restricting social gatherings involving children and putting on the back burner the issue of reopening schools. “We will have to come up with a creative campaign to educate children about health protocols and raise awareness on the importance of eating healthy and home-cooked food,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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