In a bid to scale up paediatric Covid facilities prior to a possible third wave, the state government has decided to have close to 10,000 paediatric Covid beds spread across government-run hospitals in Bengal. Sources in the health department said 20% of these will be HDU beds while 5% will be CCU beds with ventilator facilities, while the rest will be general beds.
Even as health department officials said the state has a good number of paediatric ventilators and is also procuring more, a trial will be conducted at Medical College Hospital Kolkata (MKCH) on Monday to check if adult ventilators can be used on paediatric patients.
“If we face a third wave, it could be about three to four months away. And since children who are not vaccinated are likely to be affected, we need to have our facilities ready in advance,” said a source at Swasthya Bhawan, where rounds of preparation meetings are held.
In Kolkata, all teaching medical colleges, including Dr BC Roy Memorial Hospital for Children (DBCRMHC), RG Kar Medical College (RGKMC), MCHK, SSKM Hospital and Chittaranjan Seva Sadan (CSS), have been asked to either ramp up their paediatric Covid units or set up new ones.
“We have 20 paediatric Covid beds, including four beds with ventilation, in addition to 20 SARI beds. In order to remain prepared we would be doubling the number. We also have 30 paediatric ventilators,” said DBCRMHC principal Dilip Pal.
RGKMC has already started working on creating 50 paediatric Covid beds, including 10 CCU beds. The hospital has already got four ventilators and it will be getting at least six more.
“Work is also on to set up a 40-bedded SARI ward for children. We should be ready with our unit in within two weeks,” said RGKMC principal Sandip Ghosh.
CSS already has a Covid care unit in its mother and child hub. The hospital in Hazra will now have a dedicated 40-plus bedded paediatric Covid unit spread over two floors.
“While one floor will cater to newborns, the other section will be for older kids. We already have two ventilators and some more will be procured. We should be ready in about two weeks,” said Ashish Mukhopadhyay, principal CSS.
Doctors, however, are hopeful that even if more children are affected in the third wave, only a few will require ventilation support as the ACE2 receptor in children, through which the spike protein of the virus goes into the body, is not well developed in the respiratory tract. Children are most likely to suffer more from manifestations like diarrhoea and dehydration.
“But we need to keep a certain number of paediatric ventilator beds ready,” said a paediatrician in a government hospital.
At MCHK, technicians will be checking if the pressure and volume of adult ventilators can be augmented to suit the requirement of paediatric patients. This, health department officials said, is to have a know-how in advance so that adult ventilators, which the state has more in numbers compared to paediatric ones, can come to rescue in case the need arises.
Source: Times of India