SHILLONG, July 24 : An emergency meeting of the Committee for COVID Death Audit was convened here today and thorough analysis of the deaths due to COVID in the past one week was taken up and threadbare discussions done. Several important findings were made as listed below:
- It was found that 95 per cent of the deaths were because of delayed presentation and were
tested only at the hospital.
- It is also found that out of the total number of COVID deaths in the last one week, 97 per cent were of those who were not vaccinated.
- This delay in seeking health care is becoming an alarming factor in handling the fatality numbers.
- The people are also seeking alternative medicines or visiting informal practitioners and getting admitted in the hospitals only at a later stage which may have been too late for treatment.
- The people who find themselves symptomatic or even test positive may be allowed to go by themselves to the hospitals without waiting for ambulances to ferry them.
- This would help in simplifying the process and de-stigmatize those who test positive to seek early treatment in a way they find convenient; which could be the nearest PHC/CHC or a hospital of their choice.
- Like any other disease, it is now important to make the health seeking behaviour for COVID also as simple as is possible, removing fear and apprehension from the minds of the people. This is a way to counter the barrage of unwarranted misinformation being circulated around.
- Another important finding is that many elderly people have expressed their refusal to test, be declared COVID positive, get admitted and die alone in the hospital without any dignity or honour. These are matters of sensitive cultural relativism prevalent in most tribal societies, especially Meghalaya and should be given due respect.
- An emergency meeting in this connection should therefore be held to convince the Headmen/community leaders that the COVID dead bodies can actually be taken home, after the formalities are completed in the hospitals and given a decent honourable burial in consonance with the protocols issued by the respective DCs regarding the number of people to be present at the site.
- The Medical experts also assured that the burial assistants need not wear full PPEs at the sites, as long as they were properly masked and no breach happens i.e being unmasked near each other.
- lt was also informed that the Mission and some private hospitals are complying, with the request of the relatives patients died of the COVID and giving them the desired honour on behalf of the family members. Such acts of sympathy and kindness would help, to dispel fear amongst the sick people, from avoiding hospitals to seek medical help at the right time.
- A simple message should also be carried out to the people that anyone with cold/flu like symptoms lasting more than 5 days should immediately seek medical help at the nearest PHC/CHC or the nearest hospital.
- The people in the remote villages should seek the help of the ASHAs who would facilitate necessary urgent medical help in consultation with the Medical Officers (MOs) concerned.
- All the messages and action points being taken up are to be circulated widely, in the vernacular languages, to ensure the necessary urgent communications are percolating to the last man in every locality, Blocks and villages.