Indian minds can quickly adapt and come up with solutions: Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, Columbia Asia Hospitals

December 14, 2020

While it has been clear as to what needs to be done, one of the problems that we have faced is implementation of these aspects in surroundings that are not within the hospital.

Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, Chairman, CEO and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia Hospitals India, to get his views on the challenges posed by the pandemic and his response to tackle them.

Covid-19 : Challenges

This pandemic threw up many challenges for the medical professionals. Firstly, we were dealing with a disease about which we did not have any data or knowledge. Therefore, there was immense learning through the several months that we had the pandemic and that has been a significant point. We also had to ensure safety of the healthcare professionals, both doctors and nurses as well as the patients walking into the hospital. This was a challenge.

The use of protective equipment was not common in medical science and we had to quickly prepare ourselves with the various protocols to ensure this. In the treatment of patients, we had to set up protocol, modified and changed in rapid succession as more knowledge about the disease evolved over the months from various global and Indian resources.

We had to handle the mental stress of the doctors and nurses because of the additional work and the fear of the corona virus which is indeed substantially troublesome to people. We also had to manage beds, medical infrastructure – a challenge that we had never faced to this extent before, particularly with regard to not just the medical part, but managing the infrastructure. For example, we had to ensure that air conditioning and air movement within the hospital was such that it never mixed up between Covid and non Covid patients. We also had to reassure our patients about the safety of coming into hospitals.

Covid-19: Learnings

The learnings of this pandemic have really come from the challenges. What we learnt most was the fact that the Indian mind can quickly adapt and come up with solutions and that indeed was most useful and important.

We also learnt that we had to manage with a lot of challenges in terms of medical equipment. That too was indeed something that we learnt very quickly. The new normal of the three important aspects of handwash, physical distancing and masking is of course what we have to practice. While it has been clear as to what needs to be done, one of the problems that we have faced is implementation of these aspects in surroundings that are not within the hospital. We would be interacting with various people. Even if a physician and others want to practice social distancing, it is a two way traffic and what is clear is that a greater emphasis has to happen on this from various people, statutory and others, because this is the only way we can prevent ourselves from getting into more trouble from the coronavirus.