In view of the threat posed by the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs recommended that the Ministry of Health, in coordination with the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and the National Group Experts on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) should assess the need for booster doses in India. This recommendation was made in the 236th report on “Actions taken by the government on the recommendations / observations contained in the 229th report on” Management of the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues “established by the committee headed by the MP of Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma in Parliament on Friday.
“The committee would like to know if any research has been conducted by the ICMR and other relevant institutions regarding the efficacy of vaccines that are administered or administered in the country against various variants,” the committee said in the report. In the report, the committee also warned the center of the unpredictable nature and virulence of the COVID-19 pandemic and recommended that the Home Office (MHA) advise states not to completely reduce the burden. infrastructure built to fight the pandemic like a testing facility, intensive care beds and medical oxygen etc. “They need to be kept in a dormant state so that they can be reactivated to deal with the wave of pandemic that may arise,” the committee said.
“The Committee recommends that the MHA can undertake with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare the assessment of the needs and the preparation for a possible third wave, in particular in terms of availability of liquid medical oxygen, concentrators of ‘oxygen, life-saving drugs, beds, ventilators, etc “the committee said in the report. The committee also recommends that the Center strengthen teleconsultations for capacity building and training of health professionals and telemedicine for the treatment of patients, especially in peri-urban, rural and remote areas, as well as patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The committee notes various interventions to be made under Prime Minister Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana with an expenditure of approximately Rs. 64,180 crore over 6 years and“ India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package: Phase-II ”for the period of July, 21 to March 2022 with an approved amount of Rs 23,123. The committee recommends assessing the needs of health professionals, including nurses and paramedics, and to take priority measures to recruit them to respond to the creation of health and well-being centers, integrated public health laboratories, blocks of intensive care hospitals, etc. The Committee further recommends that the MHA may contact the Department of Health and Family Welfare (MoH & FW) to coordinate regularly with the States / TUs for the timely completion of the components of the aforementioned program. Yojana / Package to strengthen health infrastructure, ”the committee said. The Committee also recommended that the MHA may contact the Department of Health to issue guidelines on setting price caps for hospital beds during pandemics such as COVID-19 and other public health emergencies. and that appropriate publicity be given to these prices.
“A monitoring mechanism could be created to curb the black marketing of life-saving essential drugs and the sale of hospital beds above the ceiling price,” the committee added. The committee took note that an environment of fear among the masses could be created due to the divergent views of various medical experts and epidemiologists regarding a possible third wave. “Therefore, the committee recommends that the MHA / Department of Health and Family Welfare publish authorized / official bulletins on COVID-19 related issues in various media / news in order to avoid panic among people », Recommends the committee.
In order to address the digital divide that arose due to the predominantly online nature of education during the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee recommended ensuring the availability of high-speed internet connectivity, televisions / large screens, computers, along with other equipment as well as a regular and uninterrupted power supply, especially during working hours, in all schools in the country. “The Committee recommends aggressive and continued advertising for educational programs broadcast on Doordarshan and satellite TV to raise awareness among the general public. The Committee also recommends revising the current one-time installation cost from Rs. 1500 to 2000 for DD Free Dish reception system for watching subject-based SWAYAM PRABHA DTH channels to make it affordable for economically weaker and marginalized students. Doordarshan Free Dish and an adequate number of TV screens can also be placed in schools, community halls, etc., in all villages, small towns, etc., also including it in their curriculum during normal / regular studies, ”the committee said.
The committee also recommended that the Department of Labor and Employment work with other unionized states and territories to register non-union / migrant workers on the e-Shram portal for a comprehensive national worker database. non-unionized (NDUW) be created as soon as possible to extend the benefits of various government plans to these workers. In the meantime, 32 cases of Omicron have been reported in the country. (ANI)
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