The Maharashtra government has established a task force of pediatricians, led by Dr Suhas Prabhu, who is a visiting consultant pediatrician at PD Hinduja National Hospital, to decide the standard operating procedures and treatment protocol for children in the age group of 0 to 18 years. The announcement was made by the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday. The Free Press Journal broke the story on May 7.
The Shiv Sena chief has already met the task force of pediatricians. He announced that he would be chairing a meeting with this task force and pediatricians from the state. They will receive tips from the COVID-19 task force led by Dr Sanjay Oak to discuss the treatment to be given to children in the third wave. The formation of a task force of pediatricians on the lines of the state-level COVID-19 task force was deemed necessary, as children have been infected by the virus in the second wave and the cases are expected to grow in the third wave.
The government, in consultation with the task force, proposed to augment beds, pediatric ventilators and oxygen to provide treatment to the children affected by the virus. The state government will soon issue SOPs and treatment for children who have contracted the virus.
The central government has issued SOPs for the treatment to be given to children in the age group of 0 to 18 years. The Health Ministry, last week, for the first time, held a virtual conference with the participation of 4,000 paediatricians, nurses, medical officers and healthcare workers across India and discussed the treatment protocols.
The ministry has pointed out that, at present, the infection rate amongst those below 20 years in the country is 12% and the death rate is 3%. The ministry emphasised the need to be prepared in case the numbers increase. All healthcare workers should be oriented to the clinical protocols and management of COVID-19 in the paediatric and newborn age groups. The ministry officials and experts were unanimous on one thing that the children should be given very judicious treatment. No unnecessary drug prescriptions of Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, hydroxychloroquine and plasma infusion as done in the case of adults.