Chennai, May 31: Paediatric wards across Tamil Nadu hospitals are preparing to protect children from a possible third Covid-19 wave.
Paediatricians are of the opinion that the number of beds for children in these wards should be increased.
In Chennai, the Institute of Child Health (ICH) has 160 beds in two different blocks. Of these 100 beds were handed over to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) which witnessed acute shortage of beds to treat Covid-19 patients, a senior doctor with the ICH said.
This was done as there were limited numbers of children who got infected. Presently only 15 children are undergoing treatment in this hospital.
Srinivasan, state nodal officer for neonatal care told IANS: "If there is a population shift in the virus and if we require more beds for children, we have plans to convert adult beds to paediatric beds and we are ready with the treatment and management protocols."
In Madurai also many hospitals have started adding oxygen supported paediatric beds anticipating a possible spike in Covid- 19 cases.
Rajani Varrier, a paediatrician at a private hospital in Madurai told IANS: "Generally in a paediatric ward, we can accommodate 40-50 children and we will be doubling the capacity in the next few days as there could be a surge in cases and we are prepared for that."
Official data states that there are 25 neonatal beds and 100 paediatric beds in each of the 37 districts of Tamil Nadu.
Srinivasan said: "We have converted most of these paediatric beds as oxygen beds and each district of Tamil Nadu have at least six paediatric resuscitation and emergency beds in each district which is a fair number."
Paediatricians see the state government's policy to increase the number of oxygen beds in paediatric wards across the state as a positive measure to fight the probable third wave that might affect children more.
Varrier said: "This is a laudable initiative and the state government has taken a far-sighted approach in this and will do good in the long run as there are medical reports globally of the possible third wave in India which may affect children in large numbers and preparedness is important which thankfully the government is doing now."
She also said that presently there are a lesser number of children with lung ailments and this is in contrast to the adults who are suffering from serious lung ailments.