IMPHAL: Eight prominent public health specialists, as part of continuous education and knowledge sharing on COVID-19, have suggested for total community survey as a must while asserting a statewide lockdown is not required anymore.
Reiterating that Manipur is in early stage of Community transmission since around 20 July, the health specialists pointed out that the reasons are not doing total community survey in QZs; letting returnees to home after 14 day quarantine without test results; not testing 2 times at QZs & QCs; home quarantine and home treatment for the poor; Cross infection at QZs & QCs; non-screening of Vol. Workers at QZs &QCs; allowing police personnel to return home and mix with other people; not arranging another 14 day quarantine for the poor; overworking of medical staff and not doing weekly testing of Covid worriers-medical, police, media & QZ/QC vol. workers.
Stating that whole Manipur lockdown is not required, the specialists also stated patchy lockdown for 1 week, 2 weeks etc. is not the solution. But declare 14 day complete lockdown of major troubled spots of the selected districts and within this 14 day implement strategies, they asserted.
The strategy suggested by the specialists to avoid further community spread include randomised Total Active Community Survey consisting 10% of sample population of IW, IE, Thoubal & Senapati districts to know the extent of Community Spread is a must now; declare Complete 14 day lockdown of these troubled red zones/areas of the districts mentioned above with strict lockdown rules enforcement; total survey – 2 times house to house total survey of all containment areas, 5-7 days apart, to find out any undetected Covid cases; Total Testing – Similarly, 2 times testing, 5-7 days apart, be done; no home treatment and no home quarantine for the poor as they don’t have proper facilities like – separate bathroom, separate living rooms, proper water supply etc. We are very firm that this home treatment and home quarantine is a source of spread to the community and be discarded immediately. These un-affordable people be treated either in a hospital or in a designated QC, the stated.
The specialists further suggested keeping positive cases of QZs & QCs in separate wing or in another QZs & QCs is a must to avoid cross infection, it also means, keep –ve people in separate section or separate QCs; 14+14 day quarantine where all returnees and suspected persons be kept for 14 days in a QC and be tested. They should not be discharged without test results. Treat positives either at hospitals or QCs, no home treatment for the poor, except the affordable. For those negative, keep for another 14 day quarantine either at a government designated QC or in a village community QC as done in Ukhrul and Kamjong districts. This is to avoid false negative results as indicated above, to detect those cross infections in QCs and to prevent spread from asymptomatic patients. Let us emulate our Tangkhul Co-ordination Forum of Covid19.
No contact tracing required now in the red districts, the specialists said stating that that is required is 2 times total survey, 2 times total testing in all QZs & QCs, quarantining and treating the poor at proper earmarked centres and a 14 day +14 day quarantine for returnees and suspected cases. Contact tracing should, however, continue in non-problematic districts. They also suggested weekly testing of Covid warriors.
To prevent infection to frontline Covid warriors as well as cross-infection from them, the specialists recommended keeping police personnel on duty in separate quarters/places, weekly roster of duty and weekly testing to avoid present MR family complex type of spread. Similarly, voluntary workers of QZs and QCs be kept in separate places with weekly roster and weekly testing to avoid unwanted contact transmission and all be provided standard quality PPEs; similarly testing of frontline medical workers on weekly basis is a must now and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) Prophylaxis :
They also suggested strict enforcement of mask use, 6 feet physical distancing, avoiding crowded places, frequent hand washing along with other hygienic conditions; information sharing & Community Participation in all health Institutions with medical staff and NGOs. 2 courses per month of 2 days duration, 15 days apart, is recommended for next 3 months, also from Corona fund.
The specialists further suggested mormal functioning of OPDs of 2 medical colleges and all private hospitals to avoid unwanted death and suffering of general public; need detailed press release by Medical Director; discrimination to frontline workers including media be prevented and stopped.
Give an insurance scheme of Rs 50 lakh as done in other states to frontline workers, they suggested. We appreciate MSF’s appreciation and speedy recovery of Dr. Uthan, Sr. Resident, JNIMS, for his contribution, they stated adding that Manipuris should start such appreciations on a mass scale.
The specialists also called for involvement of all MLAS, DC Members, Pradhans, local clubs/NGOs and Media in the fight against Corona. No politics please, they said.
The press release was signed Dr. Th. Suresh Singh, Ex-Director Health & a public health specialist and administrator; Dr. L. Shantikumar Singh, retired Professor, Community Medicine, JNIMS; Dr. Ibochou Singh, retired State Malaria Officer and WHO programme specialist; Dr. S. Sukumar Singh, retired CMO and a public health specialist and administrator; Dr. H. Nimaichand Singh, retired State Malaria Officer; Dr. Ak Khamba, retired State TB Officer and Public Health Specialist; Dr. H. Priyokumar Singh, retired District AIDS Officer & Public Health Specialist and Dr. A.S. Felix Khating, Public Health Specialist & retired District AIDS Officer.