To begin with, it has been decided to loan oximeters to those in home quarantine for free. During the peak of the second wave, there have been several incidents of people not having access to oximeters ending up in hospitals in critical condition.
IMA developed the “I Safe” model for infection control and training, especially in small and medium hospitals on realising that during the nationwide lockdown, declared on March 24, nearly 50% of private hospitals were closed due to fear of the pandemic.
The second phase of the project was launched in May when the state saw a spike in Covid cases and the state government roped in private hospitals that cater to around 70% of the population, to treat Covid patients too.
All the private hospitals were asked to keep aside 50% of their beds for Covid treatment. During the first wave, when the “I Safe” model was launched, the private hospitals were not treating Covid patients.
“We gave the oximeters to hospitals in all the districts so that people could borrow them for free. Those who require the oximeter had to contact us, get it collected and return it after use,” said Dr Sreejith N Kumar, chairman, I Safe project.
They shared around 3,000 pulse oximeters with the private hospitals that had partnered with them in Covid care.
Though people in home quarantine and those discharged from hospital were asked to monitor oxygen saturation levels using pulse oximeters, many didn’t have access to them.
“Many didn’t possess the equipment and lied about it when we enquired with them. Few admitted that they couldn’t afford it,” said an Asha worker.
There were also allegations of faulty oximeters being sold at high rates due to high demand.
“Our focus during the second wave was on domiciliary care, OP-based care and some IP based care. In addition to giving hospitals training in infection control measures and Covid management, we also supplied them with oxygen concentrators, masks, PPE kits and other protective equipment for doctors, paramedics and patients. We also introduced Covid care centres with support from 221 hospitals and started 100 free Covid testing centres.
All these initiatives will enable us to be better prepared for the third wave,” added Dr Sreejith.