The 10th edition of Elets Healthcare Leaders Forum (HLF) gathered government officials drawing from varied states and union territories to offer insights on Covid-19 vaccine rollout strategy and outcome. eHEALTH was the co-organiser of HLF virtual.
In a Live discussion, Dr Divya VS, State Nodal Officer for Training and Telemedicine at NHM, Kerala; Katamneni Bhaskar, Commissioner (H&FW) Mission Director at Department of Medical, Health & Family Welfare, the Government of Andhra Pradesh; Dr K Madan Gopal, Senior Consultant (Health) NITI Aayog; and Dr T Arun, IAS, Secretary Health, CEO Smart City, Government of Puducherry informed about their battle plans and vaccine rollout strategies to combat Covid-19 pandemic:
Dr Divya VS, State Nodal Officer for Training and Telemedicine at NHM, Kerala, elaborated the state’s Covid-19 response strategy. She narrated how the state geared up to take on the spread and possible spread of Covid-19 infection as people were returning to Kerala and the rest of India from Wuhan in China. “We just kept our eye on daily new average, cumulative, active, and recovered cases, as well as death case, comorbidity status of all the death cases. Besides, we initiated the surveillance on new strains and found out the top five areas or districts or states in the perspective of a nation. We set up state Covid control room with multi-disciplinary teams and district control rooms and call centres for screening passengers in international airports or seaports.” She added that the state proactively drawn-up plans in light of new guidelines and ensured training, and management of people pressed into Covid-specific service. “We also emphasized on the timely and comprehensive communication coverage for healthcare workers, professionals, and general people.”
Katamneni Bhaskar, Commissioner (H&FW) Mission Director at Department of Medical, Health & Family Welfare, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, laid out the vaccination strategy of the state. “When the Honorable Prime Minister launched the vaccination programme, we were initially asked to cover the programme at 143 sites and later we scaled up the drive as we received permission from the Centre. We are using both vaccines, but the use proportion is different. We have chalked out planning about locations, type of people to be vaccinated, and communication messages for the effective rollout of the first and second doses of vaccines.”
Dr K Madan Gopal, Senior Consultant (Health) NITI Aayog noted: “When the pandemic started, we were not clear what to do; the whole of the world was caught on the wrong foot, but we stick to the basic. We now have standard operating protocols and the right guidelines; everything now is in place. We know what to do and what kind of treatment is needed if somebody has Covid-19.” Debunking misconceptions around the role of vaccines, he said, “Vaccines will prevent the adverse effects of the infection; it is for emergency use that means vaccines it would prevent the catastrophe and other things that may occur due to Covid-19 infection. If I am inoculated, it is not necessary that the virus would not enter my body. It may enter the body, but it will not be able to cause harm to the vaccinated body. We should be clear that vaccination will not prevent the entry of the virus into my body.”
Dr T Arun, IAS, Secretary Health, CEO Smart City, Government of Puducherry: We have 25,000 beneficiaries and identified 135 session sites per day. We have chalked out strategies that entail involving religious leaders in these session sites. We are using technology to drive vaccination programme by tapping into government apps and SMS to connect and call the beneficiaries for getting the shot of vaccines. We initially encountered some technical glitches with these technologies alike many states but was able to fix the problem. Besides, we are coordinating and contacting the people a bit manually to estimate the turnout of these people in a specific time for vaccination.”