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Using technology, improving human resources, key to dealing with rising COVID-19 cases

gnlm opinion

Since the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in mid-August, the Ministry of Health and Sports has doubled its efforts in response to the fast-spreading virus, making the best use of its resources.
The authorities have taken steps to increase hospital capacity, including the opening of COVID-19 centres in cooperation with the donors, to deal with the overflow of patients.
With rapid testing and contact tracing efforts in areas such as Yangon Region, where cases are mounting, we could find more positive cases and provide early treatment to them.
To effectively implement the COVID-19 control measures at the ground level, it should be worth noting that the leadership and supportive role of social ministers of regional and state governments is sine qua non.
When it comes to expanding COVID-19 centres in Yangon beyond the current facilities, we need to find more human resources to run the new expanded infrastructure. Because human resources, including trained health professionals are limited, it is obviously a major constraint on our ability to fight the pandemic.
This is why we need to turn to technologies that allow health care professionals to care for many patients at home, which will also assist in minimizing exposure to the virus. This can be helpful for hospitals to take care of critically ill patients under less pressure.
Elderly patients and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension typically require more acute care and spend more time in the hospital and COVID-19 care centres because the disease is more dangerous to them. Meanwhile, plans should be made for those who need medical care but aren’t sick enough to be in the hospital to be cared for remotely by doctors.
With the number of COVID-19 positive cases reaching 22,445 on 8th October, with 535 fatalities, we would like to recommend that hospitals ensure they have enough protective equipment for staff and use technology where it is possible.
With the use of rapid antigen test kits, nationwide mass testing for COVID-19 is discovering new cases daily, and the number of Covid-19 cases is expected to continue to rise in Yangon Region. While focusing on physical infrastructure including building COVID-19 centres, hospitals and buying equipment, we need to make more efforts for building health professional and volunteer capacity.
It is worth noting that the health authorities in Yangon Region are providing training to health workers with using breathing machines and systematic using of personal protective equipment-PPE.
Though nobody can predict when this pandemic would end, we must revitalize our efforts and make stronger commitments to defeat the pandemic.

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