Community medicine experts play a key role in fighting the pandemic

While treatment for COVID-19 is largely carried out by specialists, there seems to be a greater need to bring in experts from community medicine faculty to get to the root of the problem.

The strains identified during the second wave are significantly more virulent, and a rough estimate has shown that the number of cases and deaths is twice that of the first wave. The rise in the number of clinical cases and mortality rates, the dramatic increase in medical oxygen consumption and bed shortages in public and private hospitals were clearly in line with the prediction. At this point, the involvement of the Faculty of Community Medicine, which deals with epidemiology and biostatistics, is of crucial importance.

Although all medical and non-medical public health officials and administrators apply the epidemic control principles, a qualified epidemiologist is required to direct the effort. For reasons unknown, general practitioners are usually limited to teaching and research and not in the field. When contacting The Hindu, G. Ravi Prabhu, professor and director of community medicine at Sri Venkateswara Medical College, recognizes the widespread belief and attributes it to the common belief that public health policies are easy to understand and do not require epidemiologists. “That is why the COVID-19 control measures are largely carried out by partially qualified epidemiologists,” adds Dr. Prabhu added.

Team approach

Administrators have recently identified the need for a team approach to tackling the pandemic. State officials have appointed node officers for each hospital to ensure better coordination.

Chittoor Collector M. Hari Narayanan recently held a meeting with community medical experts from SVIMS and Ruia hospitals. Treatment specialists such as general practitioners, thoracic doctors, anesthetists and emergency physicians also recognized the need for medical staff to continuously monitor the epidemiological trend together with epidemiologists and microbiologists.

Beyond the scope of the medical profession, the machinery of government, which includes police, finance, panchayat and transportation, is also intended to smoothly carry out tasks such as oxygen supply, transport of medicines, hygiene of public places and observance of mask and physical distance, which is an extremely important step considered in taming the pandemic.

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