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OPD services back on track in Jharkhand

Social distancing, masks mandatory for patients
Patients at the OPD in MGM hospital in Sakchi, Jamshedpur, on Friday.

Animesh Bisoee   |   Ranchi   |   Published 29.05.20, 07:25 PM

Outpatient department (OPD) services at all state-run hospitals and health centres resumed on Friday after a gap of over two months.

The development follows a directive by principal health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni to all the six medical colleges and hospitals, director of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi, and civil surgeons of all the 24 districts on Thursday evening.


“We have asked all the hospitals to start OPD services while complying with social distancing norms from Friday in line with the Union home ministry directive to ensure that patients can seek medical attention at their nearest health centres,” Kulkarni said.

OPD services in hospitals were stopped following the announcement of a nationwide lockdown on March 25 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

However, emergency services continued as usual. The state government also launched telemedicine and online consultations to facilitate remote access to healthcare.

The resumption of OPD services came as a big relief for patients’ attendants.

“OPD services are not available in private hospitals because of the lockdown and fears over the violation of safety norms. We had to take patients to emergency wards even for minor cases and wait in a long queue,” said Sudama Sharma, a resident of Daiguttu in Mango, who had come to MGM hospital with his father who suffers from gastritis.

“From today (Friday), the OPDs started catering to patients once again. We drew circles at a distance of one metre from each other to ensure social distancing. Patients, while taking registration slips, were directed to wear face masks and conform to social-distancing norms. The OPD timings would be between 9am and 1pm and 4pm and 6pm,” deputy superintendent of MGM hospital Dr Nakul Choudhary said.

The Sadar hospital in Khasmahal ensured a token system to enforce social distancing.

“We are sending patients in groups of five. Each patient is given a token number with strict instruction to wear face masks and maintain social distance,” East Singhbhum civil surgeon Dr Maheshwar Prasad said.

At the Sadar hospital, the OPDs operate from 9am to 3pm.

There are 3,958 health sub-centres, 330 primary health centres, 188 community health centres, 13 sub- divisional hospitals, 23 Sadar hospitals apart from six medical colleges and hospitals in the state.

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