The Assam government has asked the state’s health department to ramp up Covid care infrastructure for children. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while reviewing the state’s preparedness to deal with the pandemic, said paediatric intensive care units (PICU) should be set up in the state-run hospitals.
The Assam government will set up 30 PICUs in Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, and 20 each in Assam Medical College Hospital and Silchar Medical College Hospital, Mr Sarma said, adding all other medical colleges and hospitals will get 15 PICUs each.
All the district hospitals will get 5 PICUs each.
Some of the beds in normal ICUs can be converted into PICUs should the need arise, he said.
Mr Sarma stressed on training the human resource needed to operate these facilities. He has asked the Principal Secretary, Health, to fill up existing vacancies for ICU technicians in different medical colleges.
He also said that a nodal officer will be appointed in all the medical colleges for designing a module for training.
Experts have warned children are likely to be more vulnerable to the virus when the next wave of the pandemic strikes the country.
The centre says children can become Covid-positive, but their chances of hospitalisation are slim.
The ongoing second wave of the pandemic has seen a larger number of young people getting seriously ill, with most experiencing respiratory problems. More children were found to be infected by the virus compared to the first wave.
Experts have also warned that the third wave could be as deadly as the second wave if enough people are not vaccinated. However, the vaccination drive has flagged in several states due to an acute shortage of jabs.
Vaccination of people below the age of 18 has not been approved in the country as of now.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week urged district officials to collect data on children and young people being infected with COVID-19.