Giving Compass' Take:

• Experts at India Development Review discuss necessary strategies to improve primary healthcare in order to stave off the devastating effects of coronavirus.

• How might improving primary healthcare benefit those in greater risk situations? What can you do to support government aid to those at the first point of contact for most COVID-19 patients?

• Learn more about where and how to direct your funding to support the coronavirus response effort.

Understandably, the major gap being discussed in the healthcare system is the shortage of ventilators and hospital beds, especially in intensive care units. There is however a parallel and equally urgent need to strengthen primary healthcare. There are several reasons for this.

Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are likely to be the first point of contact for most COVID-19 patients. Experience from China and Italy suggests that of all patients with the disease, 5-10 percent become severely ill and require admission to a health facility. About 70 percent of these patients can be managed with supportive care and oxygen, which PHCs can provide. Additionally, on account of their proximity to the communities that they serve, primary health facilities are best suited to educate and inform them about COVID-19. And finally, at a time when there is such restricted access to healthcare due to the lockdown, PHCs ensure access to healthcare for pregnant women and people with conditions such as tuberculosis and diabetes.

We propose six ways to support primary healthcare teams to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Build the healthcare team’s capacity
  2. Operationalise an early response to handle the situation
  3. Strengthen logistics
  4. Listen and respond to your team
  5. Identify support within communities
  6. Boost morale

The well-being of frontline teams who are out in the field every day is of utmost priority. Organisations will have to find different ways to motivate and energise their frontline teams.

The coming months will continue to be challenging and unpredictable. Supporting our frontline teams is a vital step to help them respond to this situation.

Read the full article about primary healthcare needs in India by Dr. Sanjana Brahmawar Mohan, Hyjel D'Souza, and Manisha Dutta at India Development Review (IDR).