Online advise to curb Covid deaths
The Union health ministry on Tuesday announced a new online programme to offer doctors across India guidance on managing coronavirus disease patients and seek to minimise case fatality rates that have reduced from 3.4 per cent to 2.4 per cent over the past month.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, which has already managed over 4,000 Covid-19 patients with all levels of severe disease, will conduct the National Clinical Grand Rounds, the online programme of consultations and discussions for doctors across the country, starting Wednesday.
These grand rounds will include presentations of clinical cases by physicians directly involved in treatment of Covid-19 patients. “Challenges faced in the management of patients will be discussed by panels of experts from across India and outside India,” the AIIMS said.
Each clinical grand round will also include a question-and-answer session during which physicians who log in can ask the expert panels questions on the management of patients. Senior doctors at AIIMS are already guiding doctors in various states through teleconsultations and online programmes.
Health ministry officials said such online consultations had likely helped lower India’s case fatality rates — the number of Covid-19 patients dead divided by the total number of lab-confirmed cases — over the past month, from 3.36 on June 17 to 2.97 on July 1 to 2.43 on July 21.
“Effective clinical management has led to a decrease in case fatality rates,” Rajesh Bh-ushan, officer on special duty in the health ministry, said.
In several states, even with large infections of 1,000 or more daily cases, the fatality rates are lower than the national average — 0.60 per cent in Goa, 0.78 in Bihar and 2.33 per cent in Uttar Pradesh.
While 80 per cent of Covid-19 patients have no symptoms or mild symptoms that do not require special hospital care, doctors point out that the small set of patients who do develop severe disease need to be managed well to prevent deterioration and death. The health ministry said last week that only around 5 per cent of Covid-19 patients under medical supervision in India require either oxygen, intensive care, or ventilator support.
India on Tuesday recorded 37,148 new Covid-19 cases, raising the total number of lab-confirmed cases to 1,155,191, of whom 402,529 patients are under medical supervision, 724,578 have recovered and 28,024 have died.
The health ministry said standard treatment protocols for ensuring effective clinical management of Covid-19 cases had resulted in “a progressive increase” in the numbers of recoveries — 24,491 over the past 24 hours. The recovery rate, the ministry said, has improved to 62.72 per cent.
The AIIMS had earlier this year established a telephone helpline for doctors from anywhere in India to make technical queries on Covid-19 management.
Earlier this month, AIIMS also began a twice-a-week consultation for doctors in public hospitals in various states.