Thiruvananthapuram: With the possibility of a third wave of Covid - 19 raising serious apprehensions, the central and state governments have started preparations in the right earnest to face the ensuing challenge.
The centre and state governments have started creating a buffer stock of life saving medicines and drugs which are crucial for treating Covid-19 patients.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Saturday said her department was working on various initiatives, like preparing for a COVID third wave, reducing lifestyle diseases within five years and improving medical institutions, to strengthen the health infrastructure in the state.
The minister, while presiding over an online function for inaugurating various health projects, said vigilance against COVID should not be given up and in this regard hospitals were being equipped and strong measures were being put in place to deal with any third wave of the virus.
She also said efforts would be made toreduce the incidence of lifestyle diseases in the state within 5 years.
The minister further said that medical colleges will be made the best institutions and district and general taluk hospitals would be strengthened.She said that in the two months since the present government came to power, various health projects have been implemented vigorously.
Referring to the high quality of health infrastructure in the state, she claimed that 121 facilities here have received National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) recognition.
She further claimed that the state has the highest number of urban primary health centres which have received NQAS recognition.
Drug firms asked to increase production
The drug manufacturing companies have been directed to increase the production of anti-viral drugs like Remedesivir and Favipiravir which were widely used during the second wave besides paracetamol , vitamins and anti biotic.
According to available information, the central government itself has placed an order for 50 lakh vials of Remedesivir injection. The pharmaceutical ministry has convened a special meeting of drug manufacturers in this connection.
At the same time the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has reduced the prices of certain medical equipment which are widely used for treatment of Covid - 19. The oxymeter which was priced at Rs 2600 has now been reduced to Rs 1950, BP apparatus price reduced from Rs 3500 to Rs 1375, Glucometer from Rs 1590 to Rs 675, thermometer from Rs 270 to Rs 249. The change in price will be based on the brands.
Booster dose and children's vaccine
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria has said that a booster dose would be required by the end of the year to enhance the immunity against Covid-19. This is being done considering the possible lowering of immunity over a certain period even after taking two doses of Covid vaccine.
Dr Guleria said the children are expected to be given vaccine by September.
Covaxin refused trial in Brazil
Brazil has refused permission for carrying out Covaxin trial in their country. The decision comes in the wake of the manufacturers Bharat Biotech scrapping the agreement with Precisa Medicamentos, for supply of Covaxin in Brazil.
(With PTI inputs.)