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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 258-259

Assisting the health-care establishments to respond to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission09-Apr-2020
Date of Decision15-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance19-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication10-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu - 603 108
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_52_20

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Assisting the health-care establishments to respond to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases. Curr Med Issues 2020;18:258-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Assisting the health-care establishments to respond to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 26];18:258-9. Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2020/18/3/258/289420



The magnitude of the caseload in the ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to rise in an alarming manner and has outstretched the health-care delivery system beyond its limitations. In fact, the global caseload has increased to 1844863 cases, while 117,021 people have lost their lives while battling against the infection.[1] The European region is the worst affected and has accounted for 51.1% of cases and 68.9% of deaths of the global share. However, the biggest public health concern is the pace with which the disease has been increasing; for instance, in a single day, 29923 people were diagnosed with the infection in the European region.[1]

However, it is a fact that most of the nations have fallen short to meet the rising needs of the caseload, and thus, it is the need of the hour to improve the level of the readiness.[2] Even though inpatient and intensive care facilities are present in most of the hospitals, since the emergence of the outbreak, a lot of reforms have been done in the health-care establishments. These reforms include establishments of isolation wards, quarantine facilities, and ensuring that a greater number of beds are available to provide inpatient care to the confirmed cases. In addition, steps have been taken to demarcate the areas, wherein COVID-19 cases are admitted to avoid cross-contamination. Further, steps have been taken to improve the availability of mechanical ventilation facilities for the critically ill patients and improve their treatment outcomes.

To improve the preparedness for the rise in the number of cases in the European region, a health workforce estimator tool has been designed.[3] As the name suggests, the designed tool is expected to anticipate the number of health workers required for the delivery of health care depending on the projected caseload and the nature of severity (viz., mild, moderate, severe, and critical) of the illness. It can aid us to understand our current and target capabilities of treating the potential cases of the disease.[3]

Further, with the help of the tool, we can determine the scarcity of different types of health workers in various health-care establishments and thus provide inputs to the hospital authorities to plan for the staff in shortage.[3],[4],[5] It is quite obvious that the shortage of a specific type of health worker will limit the overall capacity of the hospital to treat the cases. This tool enables the reallocation of the available staff, which in turn improves the outcome of the hospital.[5] As the tool assesses all the health-care facilities in terms of their caseload, the process of reallocation of staff and resources can also be carried out for ensuring an overall improvement in the functioning of all the health-care establishments. Moreover, these requirements aid the hospital administrators to plan for the mental health-care needs of the workforce during these times of pressure and stressful work conditions.[3],[5]

To ensure that we get precise requirements, it is important that at the start, we feed the correct information in the tool pertaining to categorizing the available staff members based on their work profiles (viz., doctors, nurses, intensivists, etc.), allocation of staff based on which kind of severity group they are assigned to take care, type of the health facilities, available resources, etc.[3],[4] After feeding these data, we can estimate what categories or numbers are needed to meet the health-care needs of COVID-19 patients each day and what is the overall capacity of the available health workers in different health-care establishments.[3],[5] The tool has its own limitations and the important ones being it cannot forecast the number of cases of the disease and does not take into account the number of health workers who cannot come to work due to the acquisition of the infection or spending time in the quarantine period.[5]

In conclusion, in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the quality of response will be determined by our outbreak readiness. The Health Workforce Estimator tool is an effective option to identify the requirements of the health workers and the resources in the health-care facilities and thus will be a crucial determinant for mounting a better health response against the disease.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report– 85; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200414-sitrep-85-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=7b8629bb_4. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. New WHO Tools Launched to Help Hospitals Manage Surge in COVID-19 Patients; 2020. Available from: http://www.euro.who. int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/news/news/2020/4/new-who-tools-launched-to-help-hospitals-manage-surge-in-covid-19-patients. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 09].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization-Regional Office for Europe. Hospital Readiness Checklist for COVID-19-Interim version. Copenhagen: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. Files from WHO Europe at World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://euro.sharefile.com/share/view/s1df028894aa49abb/fob92ed8-23cb-4b24-a746-524bb6a27843. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 09].  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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