AIIMS being prepared for Ebola

AIIMS being prepared for Ebola

Days after the first Ebola case was reported in Delhi, the Central government and Delhi’s Directorate of Health Services have begun preparing the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to handle such cases.

So far, the Central-government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital had the only functional isolated ward to receive suspected Ebola cases, even though the state-run Lok Nayak Hospital was designated as another centre to treat such patients.

An inspection team of the Union Health Ministry had found that LNJP was not well-equipped to handle suspected cases of Ebola.

The hospital authorities had claimed that there was no clear notification from the Union Ministry on the upgradation of infrastructure.

AIIMS is among the 33 city hospitals where staff is getting basic training to identify suspected Ebola patients.


But only five or six of these hospitals will have upgraded infrastructure to deal with an Ebola outbreak, if that happens, said an official of the Directorate of health Services (DHS).

The staff at the other hospitals in the list will be given basic training to detect Ebola patients. These will not have structural or engineering modifications on their campuses.  
AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital will now have dedicated beds and laboratories to deal with Ebola cases.

The preparedness of the city in dealing with Ebola has been questioned since the first case was reported.

“All hospitals have been asked to be prepared in case of an outbreak. At AIIMS, the areas which can have dedicated wards and laboratories have been already identified. We are aiming at short-term and long-term planning,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, Head of the Department, Pulmonary Medicine, AIIMS.

Dedicated beds

“In the first case, units will be immediately converted to dedicated beds for Ebola cases in case of emergencies. However, as a part of the long-term planning, we will prepare the hospital for any kind of outbreak of disease which needs engineering and logistics,” said Dr Randeep Guleria.

It would be unfair to cordon off major areas of the hospital anticipating an outbreak as patients in other departments will suffer, he added.

Hospital ready

Meanwhile, Safdarjung Hospital authorities said there were already 10 beds dedicated to handle Ebola cases in case such patients arrived.

“There is an isolated ward which was earlier created to deal with swine flu outbreak. We have isolated toilets, two ventilators in the ward and it can handle patient load in case of an emergency,” said Dr Rajpal, Medical Superintendent, Safdarjung Hospital.

The hospital was also well stocked of the personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, gown, facemask which health providers need while dealing with patients of Ebola, added Dr Rajpal.

The LNJP authorities had said there was a lack of PPE at the hospital and they had written to the Ministry on the same.

A senior official of the DHS there was ‘miscommunication’ between the hospital and the health department which led to the lack of stocks at LNJP.

“We are well-stocked in all the resources. We are training staff at all the identified hospitals to have basic knowledge on the disease,” said a senior DHS official.
“Nodal officers, microbiologists and pathologists will be given thorough training at the major hospitals,” the official added.