RGICD moots 30 isolation wards in budget

RGICD moots 30 isolation wards in budget after virus outbreak

If the plan is approved, patients with any contagious disease can be securely housed at RGICD. (Credit: DH Photo)

In the aftermath of the recent coronavirus epidemic, the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) has proposed 30 isolation single-bedded negative pressure wards for Rs 25 crore in the upcoming state budget.

Just days ago, suspected coronavirus patients complained that the wards in the government-run tertiary care hospital were not ‘isolated’ in the true sense of the word.

Consultations are held with infectious disease experts from the Union health ministry to determine the engineering norms for the wards to match the international standards.

Negative room pressure is an isolation technique used in hospitals and medical centers to prevent cross-contamination from room to room. The technique is adopted to isolate patients with airborne contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, measles or chickenpox.

If the plan is approved, patients with any contagious disease can be securely housed at RGICD.

“We’ve given a proposal to the government to be added in the forthcoming budget to set up 30 separate single-bedded isolation wards with negative pressure,” said Dr C Nagaraj, director, RGICD. “We’ve given them a rough cost estimation too, but will get the exact estimates after meeting engineers and infection control experts from the Union health ministry. The overall budget, including construction, may cost Rs 25 crore.” 

Instead of a temporary arrangement to accommodate patients during an outbreak, the wards would offer a permanent solution in a government set-up on par with international standards, Dr Nagaraj said.

Meanwhile, 15 beds have been identified to isolate and treat suspected novel coronavirus patients since January 20.

At Narayana Health

“Previously, we’ve used negative pressure rooms for chicken pox, measles and tuberculosis,” said Dr Mahesh Kumar, consultant, Internal Medicine, Narayana Health.

“We use a spacious room with a ventilation system that removes air through an exhaust. These rooms are effective in preventing droplet infections,” Dr Kumar said, adding that there is a significant risk of someone else contracting the disease inside the hospital despite wearing masks since coughing and sneezing can release the bacteria into the surrounding air.

He said negative pressure wards would contain infections faster and help prevent the deadly multi-resistant respiratory infections. “Most hospitals have at least 8 to 10 rooms that could be used to house suspected coronavirus patients. Narayana Health has three such rooms,” he added.

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