Preventive measures taken by the Department of Health for Covid-19

Dharamsala: A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country office on 31st December 2019.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.

The Department of health, CTA has been taking preventive measures beginning in the month of January 2020 by creating awareness and monitoring situation at the settlement level and also in Dharamsala where the CTA’s head offices are seated . This article covers the major activities carried out by the Department of Health before the formation of Covid-19 Task force.

The Department of Health,CTA on 24th January 2020 called upon all the Tibetan Settlement Officers(TSO) and Executive Secretaries (Exe.Sec) of branch Hospitals and Clinics to create awareness of COVID-19 and take necessary preventive measures. 

On 29th January 2020, To all the TSOs, Exe. Secs and nurses of health centers, the department has sent WHO guidelines posters in English and also its translation in Tibetan. The concerned officers have posted the posters at crucial locations of their settlements including schools, Tibetan settlement offices, hospitals and, Monasteries of all the settlements. Here in Dharamsala, we have done the same and it has also been posted on official Facebook and Instagram handles of DoHe.

On 29th January, with collaboration with DIIR, Department of Health arranged a panel discussion on COVID-19 in TIBETAN by inviting Dr. Tenzin Tsuendue from Delek Hospital and Dr. Tsewang Tamdin from MenTseeKhang. The video released on official online platforms has so far (TibetTV, FB, Instagram, Youtube)received more than 35,000 views.

As the global situation of Covid-19 deteriorated rapidly, on 31st January, all the branch hospitals and clinics were informed to keep stocks of Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) for the hospital staff in case of possible shortages of the same in coming days.

DIIR has arranged a panel discussion on Covid-19 in ENGLISH by inviting Dr. Tenzin Namdon from Delek Hospital and Dr. Tenzin Lhundup from MenTseeKhang. The video has been released on TibetTV. The video released on official online platforms (TibetTV, FB, Instagram, Youtube) has so far received more than 2.2 lakhs views.

On 4th February, In Dharamsala, Additional Secretary Mr. Jampa Phuntsok, Joint Secretary Mrs. Tsering Youdon, and health education desk officers along with Dharamsala Tibetan Settlement Officer were summoned for a meeting with the sub-divisional magistrate and chief medical officer of Dharamsala to coordinate in taking preventive measures. In the meeting, we were informed of Dr. Mahajan of Mcleodganj Clinic who is the first person to be notified in case of any suspected cases in Dharamsala. In Himachal Pradesh, the facilities for tackling COVID- 19 cases are at Tanda and Shimla. On 7th Feb, Add. Sec and Joint sec had a follow-up meeting with Dr. Mahajan. As of 15th march Govt. of India has declared 52 test centers across India.

After the outbreak in India started spiking up, again on, 3rd March, DoHe sent a further notice to all the TSOs, Exe. Secs and nurses of health centers to create awareness to all the general public especially schools and monasteries. And asked them to be prepared in advance by finding and contacting the nearest referral centers at their localities in case of any suspected or positive cases of COVID-19. We have also appealed to the local authorities to clarify any rumors and myths to avoid panic. We have sent the necessary links to keep them updated on Covid -19.

On 4th March, one of our staff gave awareness talk at Gankyi Patoen lobta and also showed a demo on hygiene practices to the school kids and we have posted the clips of the event on the Health Department’s Facebook account.

On 7th March, Health Kalon Choekyong Wangchuk gave an Interview to TibetTV to address the issues on Covid-19 and also Deputy Sec. Mrs. Ngawang Tenzin was also taken an interview to address the technical aspects of it. 

Periodically we have been updating important notices on our social media handles with sources from WHO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India. Also our Secretary, additional Secretary and concerned officers addressed the issues and gave updates on our Tibetan news channels.

With the declaration of Covid-19 as pandemic on 11th march, since then we have been posting daily frequent important news and notices on our official social media handles.

On 13th March, Guidelines on the management of Covid-19 from Department of health was sent to all the TVHA Hospitals and clinic.

On 19th March, the Department of Health facilitated the disinfection campaign of all the offices of CTA located at Dharamsala. Further a meeting on the formation of the Covid-19 Task-Force was held and thus it is has been formed.