Arunachal Pradesh district gives 'human face' to care of Covid-19 patients

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Doctors, nurses and other attendants at a Covid-19 care centre in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district have started pasting their photographs on their personal protective equipment (PPE) kits allowing patients to know their care providers.

Changlang, the second most populous district in Arunachal, recorded its first Covid-19 case on June 1. The district now has 55 positive cases, the highest among all districts in the state. Arunachal has a total of 91 cases until Sunday.

“Patients in the centres are kept in isolation and they aren’t allowed to go out or meet anyone. Though there is a helpline which they can use, they don’t get to see a human face and even their care providers look the same as all are covered in PPE kits,” Devansh Yadav, Changlang’s deputy commissioner, said.

“The patients are already in stress because of the disease. So we thought that since the doctors and other attendants talk to them regularly and they have a level of comfort with each other, the patients should get to know who are the ones taking care of them,” he added.

Yadav, who is a doctor himself and did his MBBS from AIIMS, Delhi before joining the civil service, got the idea of pasting photos of caregivers on their PPEs from a friend based in New York.

“My friend told me about this practice used by several hospitals there and how it brought some cheer to the patients. So when we started getting cases in our district from the beginning of June, we decided to implement it as no helpline can replace a human face,” said Yadav.

“We have got some feedback from the Miao centre and it seems patients are happy to know the faces behind the PPE kits. From Monday, we will implement it in the other centres where Covid-19 patients are admitted,” he added.

The district has eight Covid-19 care centres and three of them are being used to admit positive cases. The one in Miao is located nearly 100km away from the district headquarters and has half a dozen patients.

“On the advice of the DC, we started printing photos of doctors and other care providers in A4 size papers and pasted them in front side of the PPE kits,” Dr Hensam Jongsam, the in-charge of the Miao centre, said.

“The patients are nervous about the disease and their conditions. So there was not much of reaction from them, but once they are asked about it they give a positive opinion,” he added.

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