Preparing Your Institution For COVID-19, COVID-19, Part 3 Of 3: Maintaining Essential Health Services

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COVID-19 Preparedness for Health Facility in Low-Resource Settings, Video Series

Preparing your institution for Covid 19, Part 3 of 3: Maintaining essential health services

There are 3 priority objectives: To manage flow of COVID-19 patients. To protect the welfare of your health care workers. And to maintain essential health services.

During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the excess in deaths from measles, malaria, HIV, and TB exceeded the number of deaths from Ebola. So as your institution comes under increasing pressure with the rise of Covid 19, it is critical to define and prioritise the maintenance of your essential health services. Consider establishing a COVID-19 Incident Management Team to create and implement a coordinated institutional response.

Consider also how your institution will maintain staffing levels, as health workers fall ill and demand rises? Train and upscale existing health workers to maximise their scope of practice. Consider utilising student nonphysician health care workers and medical students. Limit the number of patient encounters where possible, continuing existing drug regimens. Identify routine and elective services that can be delayed. Re-assign staff. Request part-time staff to expand hours. And full-time staff to work overtime. Health workers in high-risk categories for complications of COVID-19 may need to be reassigned to tasks that reduce risk of exposure. Where possible, offer staff local accommodation arrangements to protect health workers’ families from exposure. Health workers with new onset of cough or fever must practice self- isolation as likely Covid 19 and should not return to work until 14 days after the onset of symptoms.

Consider how your institution will maintain the following key services? Childhood immunisation Antenatal care and childbirth Acute presentations in vulnerable populations, including young infants and older adults Supplies of medication for patients with chronic diseases, including HIV and mental health Continuity of critical inpatient therapies Management of emergency health conditions and common acute presentations that require time-sensitive intervention, such as acute abdominal pain. Laboratory services, and blood bank services.

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