Shortage of paediatricians could prove a challenge | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: The high-level committee constituted to prepare for a possible third wave of Covid-19 infections suggests 3.4 lakh children (0-18 years) could be infected at the peak but pointed out that there may not be enough paediatricians and trained healthcare workers to provide treatment.
Projections suggest, a majority of Covid cases among the 3.4 lakh children that could be infected in the third wave will be in Bengaluru with an estimated 45,958 cases, followed by Belagavi (28,546) and Kalaburagi (17,338).
In an interim report to the government, of the highlevel expert committee for prevention and management of Covid Wave-3, a panel led by Dr Devi Shetty, points out that while Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) has 3,000 members, another 1,000 fresh graduates are yet to become IAP members.
The committee suggests skill-enhancing and training modules for healthcare workers. Training doctors, nurses and paramedics is the most essential component using well drafted modules of national bodies like IAP, it says.
“MBBS doctors, interns and other specialty doctors, nurses and paramedics should take a basic course in paediatric Covid-19 care,” a committee member told TOI. “Even anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, auxiliary nurse midwives, and members of gram panchayat taskforce should take the course.”
The committee has suggested special drives to fill all vacant posts in district and taluk hospitals, apart from equipping every district hospital with paediatric wards. “Recruit assistant professors in various departments like paediatrics, general medicine, pulmonology, ENT, anaesthesia and radiology through direct recruitment,” the report states.
Dr Preeti M Galagali, chairperson executive committee, IAP-Karnataka, said many paediatricians and physicians are already being trained. “All doctors must learn a little basic paediatric care for triaging. They should be able to differentiate whether throat pain is caused by bacterial infection or Covid,” she said.
The report estimates nearly 85% of infected children will be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and will not require hospitalization. But they need to be monitored. IAP Karnataka will provide tele-medicine services as a social initiative to thousands of children across all CCCs for children.
Dr Galagali said paediatricians will be required in hospitals, whereas paediatric care for kids who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms can be improved by training general doctors.
“It won’t be a problem handling variants or mutants of the virus currently in circulation, but a new variant which is highly invasive could be a different ball game,” said Dr Galagali.
She said ICU care is a tough position even when dealing with adults. Medicines are not administered in standard doses but adjusted based on body weight, Dr Galagali said. She said the health department is yet to provide the total number of neonatal ICUs in the state.
Another committee member said that while ventilators currently available for adults can be used for children too, neonates and infants cannot use the same machines. The committee has suggested special workshops on neonatal and paediatric ventilation, which is required while treating patients on high flow nasal cannula and noninvasive ventilator.
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Sagar Biswas

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