NEW DELHI, 19 March 2020: In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, FICCI has been actively engaging with the government to develop a strategy to handle COVID-19, be it screening of suspected cases, preparedness of private labs for testing or identifying isolation beds or buildings for treatment. A strategy paper has been submitted to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GoI.
Praising government's proactive actions to contain the epidemic, Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI, said, "As the country tightens its watch to delay going into Community Transmission Stage (Stage 3), widespread awareness on personal hygiene, respiratory etiquettes and social distancing and preparing our health system to limit community transmission will be very crucial in the strategy. During several consultations with the Union Health Minister, Health Secretary and NITI Aayog, the private healthcare sector has assured its full support to the government and sharing best practices from across country and globe. A four-pronged strategy on creating mass awareness, testing, training and treatment with private sector partnership is the need of the hour."
Sensing the criticality of generating mass awareness, FICCI has taken the lead in developing IEC material for hospitals and industry and circulated in early February. It has also reached out to media and entertainment sector to create celebrity videos with appropriate messaging. As WHO declared COVID- 19 as a pandemic, a comprehensive guide for organizations to prepare for COVID-19 situation has been prepared and circulated widely.
"Appropriate strategy for testing of suspect cases is the most crucial decision that the government needs to take. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's and ICMR's move to allow private diagnostic labs to test for COVID-19 is a welcome step. While FICCI has collated a comprehensive list of private laboratories that can adhere to the ICMR SOPs, it has also recommended innovative concepts like drive-through sample collection units,"said Dr Reddy.
On scaling up treatment for COVID-19, while private hospitals have come forward to allocate dedicated beds, FICCI recommends hospitals with facilities to provide COVID wards with separate entries to reduce risks to other patients should be permitted. Dedicated COVID hospitals being set up in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Fever Clinics by private sector is the way forward. Home healthcare providers can help in setting up Temporary Community Isolation Centers and Transition Care Centers to facilitate out of hospital care. Tele-consultation needs to leverage immediately to treat COVID-19 patients. There is also a need to develop a tech-enabled system for mapping existing resources in the country, including hospital beds and essential lab and medical equipment supply.
FICCI MEDIA DIVISION
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