Joining fight against COVID-19, retired doctors, medical students volunteer to provide OPD consultancy services to patients in Nagaland amid lockdown
Kohima: As the in-service medical personnel engage in the battle against coronavirus or COVID-19, retired doctors and medical students, through the Nagaland Medical Council (NMC), have joined the league by volunteering to provide free check-up services to Outpatient Department (OPD) as the district hospitals are being converted to COVID-19 hospitals. So far, six OPD centres have been set up in the district of Kohima, Dimapur, Wokha and Mokokchung to attend to general patients.
NMC president Dr Joyce Angami told a section of reporters on Tuesday that when the health department announced the need for volunteers, she and three other retired doctors, including Dr P Ngullie, Dr Atha and Dr Sashi, willingly volunteered to offer help. Considering the busy schedule of the health workers, she said that the team organised all registered volunteers, most of who are retired doctors and medical students and proposed the need to render OPD consultation services for the general public.
Beginning with the state capital, the volunteers based in Kohima were further divided into two teams at two locations — one at Paramedical Training Institute (PTI) and the other at agri-forest sub-centre — for OPD consultation services, in an attempt to share the burden of the state medical personnel who are geared up to face the global COVID-19 pandemic. With the service which began in Kohima on April 21, nearly 10 patients have availed the consultancy services.
Equipped with basic medicines which were provided by the chief medical officer (CMO), the teams are geared up to further aid more patients. While two OPD centres are activated in Dimapur on April 22 with the available volunteers, one OPD centre each will be activated in Wokha and Mokokchung. At present, there are 30 medical personnel, including dentists who have volunteered in Kohima and nine in Dimapur. According to the availability of volunteers, the services will also likely be expanded to other districts.
With the coming together of retired professionals and young practicing medical students, Dr Joyce said that the seniors are constantly guiding the young ones as they are not qualified to prescribe medicines and further sharing experiences on dealing with patients.
“It is like the sunset and sunrise,” she expressed in regard to the meeting of retired medical personnel and upcoming medical practitioners to come together at a time when the society is in need of medical facilities other than the COVID-19 treatment. She added than even when there are no patients, the team gathers to discuss on certain matters and have even decided to come up with an info-graphic surrounding the fear psychosis of COVID_19, pointing out that there is lack of knowledge among the public.
Dr Atha Vizol, a retired doctor and former disability commissioner, also expressed how he and his daughter, who is medical student, have come forward to volunteer. “I wanted to invite some of my friends who are also retired to come and help the people, and since COVID-19 is prone to people over 60, there is apprehension among retired medical personnel,” he said further hoping that no positive case will be detected in the state.
Vekhotso Nyekha, 24, an MBBS graduate from VMMC & Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, who is a volunteer at agri-forest sub-centre, expressed his delight in reaching out to people who are unable to afford private hospital care at these times. He added that patients showing COVID-19 symptoms will be immediately be referred to Naga hospital authority Kohima—the only district hospital which is converted to a CVOVID-19 hospital.
Nyekha, who returned to the state after his internship in December last year, said, “It is quiet risky”, but added that with this practice in Nagaland, he is gaining wide experience and further learning about how the medical fraternity works in the state.
Meanwhile, the two OPD centres are open from 10 am to 1 pm, Monday to Friday, but may go beyond 4 pm, as per requirement.