After the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode ,its been a month since the Kerala’s public health system received  a jolt. To counter such eventualities in future health experts have now called for putting in place stringent surveillance measures and long-term mechanisms . Few caregivers and visitors were the victims of the infection.  “Crowding of hospitals is a cause for concern and we should look at decongesting tertiary-level healthcare institutions such as government medical college hospitals,” says K.P. Aravindan, public health activist and former Professor, Government Medical College, Kozhikode. “It is important to put a referral system in place and control visitors. Patients should approach medical colleges only for tertiary care and after their appointment with the doctor that  is confirmed. Primary health centre, taluk hospital, district hospital, and the medical college hospital should be interlinked. There should be a standard operating procedure for treating fever cases,” he told The Hindu on Sunday.In government hospitals there is a severe shortage of staff. The number of caregivers can be reduced by appointing more nurses, nursing assistants, and lab assistants.   Infection control mechanisms should be immediately put in place in hospitals by involving clinical experts to reduce hospital-acquired infection, Dr. Aravindan said.  A lot of misinformation was circulated, which impacted the efforts to contain the Nipah outbreak. Cyber rules would have to be made stronger to prevent this situation. An effective public health Act, capable of dealing with such situations, has to be enacted at the earliest. It should have reference to modern illnesses and communicable diseases, he added. Dr. Sulphi also called for a long-term plan for proper healthcare. “Kerala is a rapidly urbanising State. In 10-15 years, it will become a big city. Issues such as drainage, sanitation, drinking water supply and waste disposal should be given priority while constructing houses,” he said.

 

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