On Wednesday, 28 April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that India must close the gaps in its essential medical supplies and hospital capacities urgently, as the country grapples with a COVID crisis.
“The current rapid surge of COVID-19 cases has put immense pressure on the health systems, already overburdened since the start of the pandemic. We need to act with speed, expand hospital capacities and equip them with medical supplies, most needed to save lives.”Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region
Apart from this, they also speak of the need to address concerns, fear, and misinformation among the communities which often triggers hoarding of medical supplies and frequent hospital visits.
How is the WHO stepping up to help India?
The press statement released by the WHO says that they will be,
- Procuring laboratory supplies, including 1.2 million reagents to help India meet its testing demands.
- Chartering flights to bring in 4 000 oxygen concentrators to help meet the increased demands.
- Over 2600 technical staff have been repurposed to support covid response in India.
- Procuring mobile field hospitals with capacity of 20-30 beds, which could be set up in the most affected areas
The WHO continues to stand by its 'tried and tested' key public health measures of test, trace, isolate and treat—along with physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and masks, to curtail COVID-19 transmission.
It emphasises that these measures don't change "irrespective of the numbers that we see today or the virus variants that may be circulating during the ongoing surge (in India)."
“Masks should be worn correctly covering nose and mouth properly. Our masks should be a good fit, without gaps, to effectively protect us from the virus.”Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region