CHIEF Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie says several measures are in place to reach people who need regular care from public hospitals, despite the emergency mode under which the facilities are operating because of COVID-19 admissions.
She said various forms of evaluating patients to determine their condition and to deliver medication to them have been implemented, while they review how the National Health Fund (NHF) can expand delivery to patients who must be served while the system prioritises on emergency care, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We have put in several measures in order to ensure that there is continuity of care, and we have a call-out system in some of our hospitals where they call the patients and make a determination of those that need to come in or those who need to have their prescriptions repeated,” the CMO said at a recent COVID conversations digital press conference.
She added that arrangements have also been made for the pick-up of prescriptions, while through the NHF medicines are delivered to the “most vulnerable populations”.
Dr Bisasor-McKenzie also said the prescription period has been lengthened from three to six months, to ensure people get their medications over a longer time.
Further, she emphasised that ending the surge of COVID-19 infections depends on the behaviour of people and their adherence to the infection prevention and control measures.
“It just means that you follow the rules – that is what is going to stop the exposure and the spread,” the CMO said.
Meanwhile, Dr Bisasor-McKenzie said the public health system can manage the care of pregnant women who are being infected with the virus, as space is available and different areas at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital have been created for post-delivery care at the institution. The CMO however said staffing is a challenge, especially with critically trained nurses who are migrating.
She added that the capacity at the regional hospitals has been increased over the past two years, through the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC).
“We are not overwhelmed by the demand for high-dependency spaces, but we will come under pressure in terms of having the staff to manage those spaces. The challenge right now is not so much space and equipment but staff, and we could reach a point where we are challenged for space if our [COVID] numbers continue to rise,” Dr Bisasor-McKenzie said.