Almost a month after Corona virus struck India, it was more than clear that the situation is becoming tougher with every passing day.
The Resident Welfare Associations across India woke up to the occasion and tried putting their resources together to fight the menace with their limited mandate. The effort was small but significant because the initiatives were a huge relief to the already burdened healthcare system of the country.
Green Clean India has received messages about many housing societies in the National Capital Region of Delhi creating isolation room within the society to keep the suspected COVID19 patients. As cases continued to rise in the NCR region including Noida, Ghaziabad, Delhi NCT and Gurgaon, the RWA came up with many innovative ideas. The initiatives of the RWAs were also covered substantially by the mainstream media.
Eldeco Utopia, in sector 93A of Noida turned its club house into a alternate isolation room with provisions of beds, oxygen cylinders and equipment for monitoring oxygen levels.
“We have in-house doctors who are helping us in setting up the facility. This is for the temporary stay till the government’s team takes the patient away,” said Sayama Sahar, Vice President of the RA of Eldeco Utopia to English news daily Economic Times.
Supertech and Mahagun Mascot in Crossing Republik in Ghaziabad also started initiatives to lessen the burden from the public health system and also to give the benefit and comfort of domestic care within the campus for the asymptomatic patients.
“We already have bed along with basic facility in the club. Initially, it was created to ensure the stay of maintenance sta but it can be converted into a isolation facility,” said Virender Singh, RWA president of Supertech to Times of India in a report.
In Delhi too, some RWAs are converting the club house and making provision of isolation room. As the number of the novel Corona virus cases continued to rise in Delhi, resulting in shortage of hospital beds for patients, people in the capital had to arrange oxygen beds on their own.
One such initiative was taken in Delhi's Paschim Vihar, where people came together to arrange three oxygen concentrator machines and cylinders with the help of their Resident Welfare Association (RWA). The initiative was started by local RWA president Lokesh Munjal.
"A few days back, a Covid-19 patient succumbed in a nearby area as he was not admitted to the hospital on time. Thereafter, we decided to take this initiative. RWA has mobilised the resources to arrange three oxygen concentrator machines, which we will deliver to the need person's house until beds are found in the hospital," Munjal told India Today magazine. A team of doctors were also be present to monitor the situation, in case of an emergency.
These initiatives have also been welcomed by Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain. The government of India has now come out with detailed guidelines for gated residential complexes to set up their own Covid care facitilies.
Guidelines released by the government for gated residential complexes that wish to set up small Covid care facilities in their premises were in line with the consistent demand by bigger RWAs to allow them to take care of their members within the premises. The guidelines said the Covid care facility will be a dedicated health facility for management of suspect, asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic and very mild cases of coronavirus among the residents of the particular gated complex.
It also clearly said that the facility will have to be set up using the resources of RWAs, Residential Societies or NGOs. The intention of the government in issuing the guidelines can be summed up as three-fold.
To ensure that the already strained public health infrastructure is not further burdened with mild cases which can very well be cured with the domestic facilities under proper care.
To ensure that the Resident Welfare Associations which are coming forward to set up their infrastructure and help in relieving the stress of the public facilities are encouraged and properly guided.
To give the residents the comfort of being taken care of in their own domestic environment. The viral infection is not just a health hazard but also a situation of severe mental and psychological stress. A domestic health facility is always more helpful to the person under care than being admitted in a place away from home.
Taking into consideration the above three-objectives, Green Clean India has compiled the directions of the Health Ministry of India in one article here for reference. The instructions can be briefly summed up as:
The Covid care facility as advised and permitted by the government in Resident Societies is strictly not meant for elderly patients and children below the age of ten. They must not be risked with care in the facility inside the resident complexes. It is not advisory, but also illegal by law. Similarly, pregnant and lactating women, patients with comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, other immune-compromised states must not be allowed to stay in the RWAs domestic facility.
People mentioned in the above point must be admitted to the appropriate Covid care health facility of the government or a private hospital which is marked by the government for Covid care.
The guidelines were clear in its directive that the Covid care facility set up by the RWAs will be a makeshift one and not a permanent one.
Such care facilities are allowed to be set up in a community hall, centre, common utility area within the premises of residential complexes or empty flats which are isolated locationwise from the rest of the occupied dwelling.
The Covid care facility should have a separate entry and exit and it should not hinder or come in way of the regular passage of other members of the society.
Entrance to the Covid care centre must have mandatory hand hygiene equipment like sanitizer dispenser and thermal screening provisions for caregivers.
The beds shall be placed with spatial separation of at least 1 meter or 3 feet from one another. All care must be taken to ensure that the overcrowding of the facility is avoided.
Used linen, pillow covers, towels from such Covid facilities can be kept in disposable bags for 72 hours and then washed at the patient's home using commonly used detergents.
Cleaning and regular disinfection using 1 percent sodium hypochlorite of frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc must be ensured by the RWAs.
Sanitisation of the common areas with such facilities must be carried out twice daily
Effective and frequent sanitation, at least thrice a day, within the Covid care facility in the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations and allied areas.
Monitoring of the facility must be regularly done and it shall be regularly inspected by the Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs) to provide guidance to the RWA and residential society.
The guidelines advice that patients should at all times use a triple layer medical mask. Discarding masks after 8 hours of use or earlier if they become wet or visibly soiled must be ensured.
Used masks should be discarded only after disinfecting it with 1 percent sodium hypochlorite.
Patients in the Covid facilities must stay in the identified bed and shall avoid interaction with other people, especially elderlies and those with comorbid conditions.
Thermal screening of visitors to the facility must be carried out at entry points and only asymptomatic individuals shall be allowed to enter the premises.
Vendors, household helps, car cleaners, delivery personnel, etc. will also undergo such screening daily.
Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible at all locations at all times in all common areas, including parks, corridors, lift lobbies, gyms, clubs.
Seating arrangement, in common areas like parks etc. to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained within the premises.
The government is empowered to direct for the closure of the facility if the directives are not adhered.
Green Clean India is committed to keep you updated on regular government directives and guidelines on the impending situations which pertain to the Resident Welfare Associations and its members. You are free to reach out to our team for getting a copy of any specific government directive in this regard. For any further query or suggestion on this subject you may write to the Green Clean India team by mailing us at email@example.com.