Hyderabad: Plastic curtains, glass mounted tables, infra Triage, pedestal mounted sanitiser stands and large exhaust fans for free flow of air. No, this not a corporate hospital, but the scene at a primary health centre (PHC) functioning from the premises of Masjid-e-Ishaq in Nawabsab Kunta, Old City. The PHC, which reopened recently after the prolonged lockdown, has set a new benchmark in COVID compliant protocol. Not just this. There is also a Triage which is worth emulating. There is also a separate waiting area for patients here.

Masjid 3 Triage at PHC

Every care has been taken to ensure that the clinic is safe for patients, doctors and staff. Given the spike in Covid cases in the old city, doctors here carry out fever surveillance and offer counselling for home isolation. And if they suspect a Covid case, a quick referral is made to the designated hospital. The Covid compliant model is considered necessary to give doctors and the patients the required confidence in providing and seeking quality health care services.

New Project (5) Doctor examining patients behind the triage

The PHC established in 2018 in the Masjid premises by the Helping Hand Foundation and SEED, USA has been making waves with its novel approach to health care. Earlier the PHC made use of the mosque public address system for dissemination of information to patients. During the lockdown messages for observing social distancing and maintenance of hygiene was also announced from the masjid loudspeaker.

Now it is going all out to combat suspected Covid cases in the old city slums. Patients who come to the clinic are first assessed in the Triage by trained counsellors. They do thermal screening and check oxygen saturation levels. Thereafter, the details are entered in an ICMR developed risk assessment form which gives scores on a scale of 1-10.

"Any patient with a score of more than 4 will be triaged for home isolation care after getting free medicines. The counsellors will monitor and track their health status regularly", says Mujtaba Hasan Askari of Helping Hand Foundation.

At any given time only 8 patients are being allowed inside the clinic after they get clearance from the Triage. Before that they are sanitised and given a face mask. A group of nurses check the vitals and complaints of patients in the second triage station inside the masjid and an OP slip handed over to them for consultation. The other patients are moved to the waiting area in the adjacent block. All the doctors and staff are provided N-95 mask and gloves for their safety. Before and after consultation, the patients are advised to make use of the hand santiser.

"The clinic area is daily fumigated along with the equipment and instruments used in the clinic by a dedicated team of sanitation workers", says Mr. Askari.

Masjid 4 Medicos wearing PPE kit, N-95 and mask

Fever Surveillance

A fever surveillance protocol has been prepared by the doctors to track the fever cases reported at the centre by a team of counsellors from the Triage. Daily tracking and monitoring helps in identifying the symptomatic cases that need to be tested for COVID and clinically managed in hospitals. Suspected cases with symptoms of shortness of breath, desaturation, tightness in chest are referred to COVID centre.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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