In its endeavour to provide the best healthcare facilities to the people of the state, Punjab has become the first state in the country to understand the importance of high flow nasal cannulas (HFNCs).The development assumes significance as in the present global pandemic crisis even the Government of India was actually procuring ventilators to save the critical patients while Punjab was focusing on the HFNCs which actually proved to be a much more important instrument for saving the precious lives.This was stated by the Chief Secretary, Ms Vini Mahajan, while chairing an event held by the Strategic Institute for Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER) on the eve of the World Immunisation Week, starting from April 24.The Chief Secretary said this week should be observed to further promote the use of vaccines to protect the precious human lives from the diseases, especially Covid which was posing a major challenge to public health worldwide.Urging the eligible persons to immediately get themselves vaccinated to beat the virus, Ms Mahajan said she has also got the first dose of the Covid vaccine, which was safe and the only resort so far to prevent contracting the virus.She said the approach of the state government has been to try and make sure to minimise the economic consequences of the actions by minimising lockdowns and restrictions to minimise the stoppage of economic activity and avoid public inconvenience.Touching the public health issues and present Covid situation in the state, the Chief Secretary said, “The Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Government’s approach has been to try and make sure to minimise the economic consequences by minimising lockdown and thus diminishing the stoppage of economic activity and case minimum public inconvenience.
Punjab Government would undertake vaccination in the age group of 18-45 years from May 1, and it would be ensured that the vaccine is supplied free of cost to all the government healthcare facilities across the state and the 104 helpline of the state government will provide 24x7 real time information with respect to the availability of beds in the hospitals.”She said the government’s focus was on making people aware of Covid appropriate behaviour, including the use of masks, maintaining social distancing and frequent washing of hands. “Considering the situation, the state Government is also ensuring minimum unnecessary indoor gatherings like weddings, and in gyms, spa, sports complexes because the priority is to save human lives at all costs,” Ms Mahajan asserted.She categorically stated that the state government’s health system was fully in readiness with the support of experts, besides keeping in place all the required equipment, drugs and most importantly, the state has the partnerships where the treating faculty, doctors could get together to discuss and take the correct decisions.‘‘We believe that such initiatives have proved helpful to the people of Punjab as our total Covid cases when you compare with other states in the country have never gone above 17th position. We are trying to work in tandem so that our private healthcare sector is also strengthened and enabled while we keep a very strong check on them. We have our expert teams ready at the time when the problem was at its minimum and we used that time to review which hospitals were doing well and which hospitals had not been able to provide the correct level of services and we have highlighted these well-functioning hospitals along with informing the not-so-well performing ones to improve on parameters. We are assuring all hospitals full support and will back them up, support them so that both the government and the private sector work together to provide the people of the state with the best care not just to the people of the state, but also to the people from other states coming for treatment to Punjab,’’ she added.Ms Mahajan complimented the event organisers Dr Rakesh Gupta and Dr Sonu Goel for their work on advocacy of public health interventions and appreciated the series of activities that have been carried out in recent years.The organisers appreciated the achievements of the Punjab Government, especially in the field of public health under Ms Mahajan’s leadership.