Dr Nandakumar Jairam, Chairman & CEO, Columbia Asia Hospitals, suggests 5 tips to keep Coronavirus at bay

March 31, 2020

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world including India. As an expert how do you analyse the alarming situation?

The likely surge in the number of cases is unknown. Hopefully with the social distancing and lock down in place the numbers may be manageable. It will be seen in the coming weeks. Further, it is most heartening that the Govt of India and the State Govt in Karnataka have been extremely proactive in their approach. They have been in touch with the private hospitals to understand the support that can be provided. A capacity list for items have been already drawn. The private hospitals are working in alignment with the government bodies. We have established Flu clinics for screening in each hospital. Tele consultation is in place for those who do not need urgent care.

Suggest five tips to keep the virus at bay.

The top five tips that one could follow:

  • Stay at home as much as possible. Follow the govt orders during the lock down. Step out for buying essentials and emergency health care
  • If you have to step out, please take adequate steps for protecting yourselves.
  • Manage your hygiene, wash your hands often, do not touch your face, mouth and eyes
  • If a family member is under quarantine, make sure you maintain a safe distance, disinfect regularly and isolation is ensured
  • Eat healthy so that your immune system is not compromised. In case you are on medication, please do not miss it.

As healthcare service providers, what kind of measures are being undertaken by your organizations to spread awareness and make patients & employees keep safe?

Awareness campaigns undertaken include:

  • Information disbursion on the subject from January 2020 to our patients and staff via handouts/ LED displays at the hospital; Social media and a campaign on a television channel
  • Awareness campaigns in RWA’s and Corporates (from Jan – Mid of March)

At the hospitals, we have taken the following measures to reduce patient to patient contact

  • Beginning of March, we had stopped visitors for patients admitted at the hospital
  • Restricting the number of patient companions at OPD’s
  • We have now started online consultations for many specialties
  • Masks, Protective gear are available adequately
  • Limiting cases being treated at the hospital

Centre and States have taken precautionary measures to break the infection chain, what more can be done?

The government is doing a fantastic job, we as citizens need to support them and follow the instructions carefully so that we can break the chain and come out of the crises as early as possible.

Appropriate testing is the need of the hour and private laboratories and hospitals are gearing up for this. We need approval and kits for this activity

Is there any specific reason why European people are falling easy prey to the novel virus than in South Asia including India?

There is no clinical data to support this assumption. However, many governments globally have been proactive in calling for a lock down so that the situation does not reach alarming levels very quickly. One important point to be noted is the relatively large number of elderly persons in other nations and warmer temperatures in India. However, there is no statistical confirmation.