COVID-19 test not mandatory for RMNCAH+N service

COVID-19 test not mandatory for RMNCAH+N service

Doctors and medical staff attend residents at a COVID-19 coronavirus community clinic during a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Mumbai on May 19, 2020. (AFP)

The health ministry on Wednesday said that essential health services related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescents (RMNCAH+N) should be continued in a restricted manner in areas defined as containment and buffer zones.

In a guidance note, the ministry said that COVID-19 testing is not mandatory in RMNCAH+N services.

“Critical services for women, children and adolescents should be provided irrespective of their Covid status,” the guidance note on provision of RMNCAH+N services said.

“Under no circumstances should there be a denial of essential services,” it said.

It said that all COVID-19 suspect and positive patients should preferably provide service at the dedicated Covid facilities.

The guidance document said home delivery of folic acid, calcium and zinc tablets, oral rehydration solution sachets and contraceptives can also be arranged in the containment zones.

Areas where multiple coronavirus cases are reported have been classified as containment zones and its surrounding areas are called buffer zones.

“In India, with the second-largest global population, the growing epidemic of coronavirus requires that special efforts have to be made to continue the essential routine RMNCAH+N services,” the ministry said.

The guidance note stated that it was important to ensure that essential health services for vulnerable populations are continued during the pandemic.

The ministry said that a mother and her newborn should be nursed together as far as possible and breastfeeding must be initiated within one hour of delivery, irrespective of the coronavirus status. However, the mother must wear a face mask and practice hand hygiene before feeding the child, it added.

In a separate advisory, the ministry for reuse of goggles in a personal protection equipment kit at least five days after proper disinfection.

“All goggles that conform to the prescribed EN/BIS specifications will be re-used after disinfection,” the advisory said adding that the PPE kits will not come with goggles anymore.

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