New Delhi, July 15: The Centre on Friday sought the expenditure proposals from all states and the Union Territories (UTs) at the earliest to enable expeditious approval and sanctioning of recently approved Rs 23,123 crore Emergency Covid-19 Response Package (ECRP) Phase-II.
Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister had approved the new scheme "India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project: Phase-II" amounting to Rs 23,123 crore for 2021-22 on July 8. The scheme will be implemented from July 1 this year to March 31, 2022.
Phase-II of the ECRP has Central Sector (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) components. The scheme will help in strengthening decentralized public health actions and public health facilities in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas.
During the review meeting, states and UTs were guided on policies and guidelines from Union Health Ministry on different aspects of Covid management which would help in strengthening their healthcare infrastructure to streamline Covid-19 response. The meeting was held via video conferencing.
Among the focus highlighted during the meeting was need for ramping up test, track, treat and isolate strategy requirement for scaling up testing capacity; additional beds including for paediatric care and makeshift hospitals in sub-district levels; ensuring availability of critical drugs, testing kits and PPEs; enhancing Oxygen availability and strengthen home and village community isolation centres as well as Covid care centres; sustaining and enhancing skilled medical and para-medical HR in line with the new guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry in consultation with National Medical Commission (NMC) and Indian Nursing Council (INC).
It is also directed to support the states to establish dedicated paediatric care unit in all 736 districts of the country for responding to the needs of paediatric Covid-19 management as well as support to establish paediatric Centre of Excellence in each state and UT (either in State Medical Colleges or State Hospitals or Central Hospitals such as AIIMS, Institute of National Importance) for providing Tele-ICU services; mentoring and technical hand-holding to these District Paediatric units.
It was also stressed to increase the availability of ICU beds including 20 per cent paediatric ICU beds as per evolving needs and support to states to have 1,050 Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) storage tanks along with Medical Gas Pipeline System (MGPS) (at least one per district) to augment the availability of medical Oxygen in public healthcare system.
Strengthening of Tele-consultation platform to provide up to 5 lakhs tele-consultation services per day was also focused. It was also directed to support the states in implementation of Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) in all the District Hospitals, duly strengthening the national architecture.
States and UTs were also advised to conduct a quick gap analysis for various infrastructure components under ECRP-II including their IT infrastructure readiness. The hub and spoke model for Tele-consultation services may be improved including for the services at the COVID Care Centres, through District level Hubs.
"The Final year MBBS students, UG Interns and PG residents may be utilized under the supervision of the faculty as per the National Medical Commission Guidelines for providing services of mild Covid management through Tele-consultation. Similarly, final Nursing graduates (BSc and GNM) may be utilized for full-time Covid nursing duties at government facilities under the supervision of senior faculty as per the Indian Nursing Council guidelines. The support of remuneration or incentives to these Human Resources for Health under the ECRP-II may be leveraged by the states effectively in the times of need," said a Health Ministry statement.
All facilities in the district, Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs), eSanjeevaniOPD, Common Service Centers (CSCs) and other healthcare facilities like Sub-Centres (SCs), Primary Health Centres (PHCs), and Community Health Centres (CHCs) are required to be connected with district hospitals as spoken.
It was also pointed out that procurement of drugs for effective Covid management is an essential component of ECRP-II. Guidance can be tweaked to local needs and states must come up with their own assessments based on stocks and costs involved.