The Whole world has been engulfed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This deadly disease has not only infected more than a million people; it has also resulted in thousands of deaths. Each day the count of the infected is rising exponentially and new COVID-19 clusters are emerging every day. Our country India has also seen an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in the past few days. Mumbai in particular has become a hotspot of this disease.
The last few weeks have proven that even the best healthcare systems of the world are not able to face the challenge posed by the COVID-19 virus. Many hospitals in developed countries like US, Italy and Spain have been overwhelmed by the large number of COVID-19 patients streaming in for treatment. The healthcare system of the Lombardy region of Italy, arguably the best in Europe has been paralysed by the sheer scale of this pandemic. Though they had the wealth and resources needed, the doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel have been struggling to provide the necessary treatment for COVID-19 patients. The doctors there have been forced to take the unfortunate decision of deciding which patient gets a ventilator and which patient does not. How painful for a doctor to decide this knowing fully well that one of the patients will not survive. The hospitals there are running out of ICU beds, ventilators, other medical equipment and even people as more and more healthcare professionals are getting infected while treating patients.
India has a doctor to patients’ ratio of 1: 1,445 which is much lower than the WHO’s prescribed norms. When compared with Italy which has a doctor to patients’ ratio of 3.8 :1000, India is far behind in terms of its healthcare personnel. Every hospital is currently having a severe shortage of trained personnel to treat COVID-19 patients.
There have already been media reports wherein Doctors and nurses are pleading with the government for adequate safety equipment to treat COVID-19 patients. Doctors in Bengal are complaining that they have been provided plastic raincoats instead of Hazmat suits to treat patients. These raincoats are insufficient protection equipment against the virus. In Bihar, doctors and nurses are complaining that they have not been provided N95 masks and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) like Hazmat Suits. Our Doctors and nurses in some hospitals have started improvising their protection gear to protect themselves while treating patients. One resident doctor in Haryana has started wearing his helmet along with the mask with the hope that the additional layer will protect against the virus while treating patients. In fact, doctors have started saying that they would like to treat COVID-19 patients but not at the cost of their lives, treating these patients without proper medical protective gear is nothing but suicide.
Due to these circumstances, doctors and nurses are fearful of treating COVID-19 patients lest they contract the disease and also infect others unknowingly. In Italy, more than 4,000 healthcare workers including doctors and nurses have been infected due to lack of proper PPEs though their equipment was far more superior than the ones being provided to our doctors and nurses. Some of them have unfortunately succumbed to the disease. Already over 50 healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses have been infected in our country and have been quarantined. This is just the start of the epidemic in the country.
Just imagine this scenario playing out in India. We already have a shortage of doctors and nurses and even if 10% of them were to be infected, we would have less no of doctors and nurses to treat COVID-19 patients. This not only decreases the chances of stemming the disease but also increases the no of patients who would die due to shortage of healthcare personnel to treat them. As a developing country we cannot afford this scenario.
The number of deaths could be in millions. This would be catastrophic for India where millions don’t have access to good healthcare facilities. We are in reality fighting a war where our soldiers are not the military personnel but the healthcare workers who are standing on the frontlines. It is our responsibility to protect each and every one of them, to keep them healthy so that they can work to treat more and more patients and help cure the disease.
We have already crossed 4,300 known cases of COVID-19 in the country and soon would see an exponential rise in cases just like what has happened in Italy, US, Iran and Spain. The pressures are mounting, but you can help us to navigate the challenges we currently face. This is a crisis wherein our healthcare personnel including doctors and nurses need to be protected from the COVID-19 infection. If they were to be infected, we would have no one to treat the scores of patients currently getting infected by this disease.
Accepting the challenge posed by this Novel Coronavirus, Dr. L. H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai has already starting treating COVID-19 patients and has set up the following facilities for the same:
- An isolated fever clinic for patient screening.
- A dedicated floor to treat Novel Coronavirus patients consisting of 30 beds including 2 ICU beds.
- A dedicated team of full time consultants, paramedics and healthcare personnel specifically handling Novel Coronavirus patients.
Considering the shortage of critical equipments needed for treating COVID-19 patients, Dr. L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai is setting up this fundraiser to raise funds for the following:
Please remember, our doctors’ and nurses are trying their best in these circumstances to help overcome this disease. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to help them in whatever way possible. Your contribution to this fundraiser will surely go a long way in helping them stop this disease.