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Include labs and home care providers in vaccination drive: Pvt health sector

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Private healthcare industry has urged the government to include diagnostic laboratories and home care providers for scaling up the ongoing nationwide covid-19 vaccination drive.

NATHEALTH-Healthcare Federation of India, a body representing private healthcare sector on Wednesday submitted its recommendations to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and NITI Aayog. The recommendations also include setting up of vaccination centres in resident welfare associations (RWAs), malls, schools, airports, and large corporations with space and staff facilities.

“These steps will not only accelerate vaccination numbers at the community level but will also play a pivotal role to stem rising cases of covid-19 in India, effectively scaling up numbers and expanding coverage in a short span of time,” NATHEALTH said.

Industry bodies such as Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Association of Healthcare Providers (India) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) have already shown interest in partnering with the government for speeding up the covid-19 vaccination program as the country has entered the second wave of covid-19 infections.

India’s daily new cases continue to rise. 1,15,736 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours. Eight States including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have shown a rise in the COVID daily new cases. 80.70% of the new cases are reported from these 8 states, the union health ministry data shows.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 55,469. It is followed by Chhattisgarh with 9,921 while Karnataka reported 6,150 new cases. The daily positivity graph is on a steady incline and currently stands at 8.40%. India’s total Active Caseload has reached 8,43,473. It now comprises 6.59% of the country’s total Positive Cases. A net incline of 55,250 cases recorded from the total active caseload in the last 24 hours, the government data shows. Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh cumulatively account for 74.5% of India’s total active cases. Maharashtra alone accounts for 56.17% of the total active caseload of the country.

Also, 630 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. Eight States account for 84.44% of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (297). Punjab follows with 61 daily deaths. India has however surpassed the US to become the fastest vaccinating country in the world with an average daily rate of 30,93,861 vaccine doses, vaccine hesitancy and access continue to a problem for low uptake.

As India’s cumulative vaccine coverage neared 90 million on Wednesday, NATHEALTH has suggested involving other healthcare providers with skilled medical workforce to further ramp up to the vaccination drive. Some of the key suggestions submitted along with the rationale to the Government are involving certified, private diagnostic organizations, phlebotomists at accredited laboratory chains who are well-trained to proficiently inoculate the population with utmost compliance under the supervision of MBBS doctors.

As per the official guidelines, private labs can easily create dedicated sections for registration verification vaccination and observation, if given a chance to participate in the vaccine administration drive, the healthcare body said.

It recommended that temporary vaccine centres can be set up in schools, malls, hotels/dormitories, airports, and large corporate houses can be created to conduct the inoculation drive as per the SOPs and operational guidelines of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It further recommended involving more private home healthcare industry players in order to reduce the cost of care for patients and the burden on the stretched hospitals system.

“There is a need to give flexibility and convenience of access to vaccines for working professionals and dispel the fear of visiting hospitals for the elderly. The home healthcare industry and diagnostics sector with other service providers like pharmacies are looking forward to collaborate with the Government to accelerate their vaccination program at the community level,” said Harsh Mahajan President, NATHEALTH and Founder and Chief Radiologist, Mahajan Imaging said.

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