Covid-19 was first reported in Wuhan Province in China in December 2019 which was announced as a Pandemic by the World Health Organization in a couple of weeks. Covid crept into Tamil Nadu with the first positive case reported on 7th March 2020. The Tamil Nadu Government under the able leadership of the Hon’ble Chief Minister Edappadi.K.Palaniswami imposed the required precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease in the state. The Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr.CVB spearheaded the mission, set up the task force and strode to action.
Initially, all ports of entries were thoroughly screened and later restricted. The state complied with all the rules laid down by the Union Government.
The task force worked closely with the ICMR and as per the Union Health Ministry guidelines. Procurement of protective gears, scaling up of infrastructure, ramping up the exclusive Covid facilities, human resources management were done on a war-footing basis. Testing – Tracking and Isolation was the mantra to battle the virus. The rampant testing facilities, installation of labs in all the districts accelerated the testing process that helped to identify the patients and treat them on time. Meetings with the Senior Officials, Deans and District level Health Officers gave clarity of the situation and helped for better planning to combat the pandemic.
Despite the rising number of cases, Tamil Nadu fought a steady battle against Covid providing world-class treatment to its people, completely free of cost at all Government hospitals under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Insurance Scheme, capping the fee for testing and treatments at private hospitals, ensuring allocation of beds for all the patients etc. The addition of nearly five hundred 108 ambulances exclusively for Covid (across the state) helped commuting the patients back and forth from home to hospitals or Covid Care Centers. Setting up 24*7 control room, exclusive helpline number, Covid dashboard, regular press releases were best practices that can be emulated at any crises. The high-cost medicines like REMDESIVIR etc. were stocked sufficiently for saving lives.
The excellent infrastructure set up with additional Oxygen tanks, high flow Oxygen units, installation of oxygenation lines at taluk level hospitals, nutritious diet, and good medical attention saved millions of people from the deadly pandemic. The Union Ministry appreciated the efforts of Tamil Nadu Government and the Department of Health and Family Welfare for the preventive measured adapted, reducing the doubling rate and flattening the curve at a faster pace compared to the other states of India.
E-Sanjeevani the teleconsultation OPD was launched allowing people to avail medical facility without stepping out of the home during the lockdown. Tamil Nadu ranked top among other states with more than 2 lakh people availing the online consultation facility. Pregnant Mothers and Childbirth were given prominent importance during the pandemic for safe delivery thereby avoiding Mother/Infant mortality. Organ transplantations, ART Drug distribution for HIV patients, the supply of medicine for TB patients were all taken care without any disruption. The pioneer in Public Health, Tamil Nadu once again proved its mettle, despite the pandemic.