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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 119-120

Assessment of the national capacity and preparedness to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission23-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance02-Mar-2020
Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu - 603 108
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jmgims.jmgims_19_20

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Assessment of the national capacity and preparedness to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. J Mahatma Gandhi Inst Med Sci 2020;25:119-20

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Assessment of the national capacity and preparedness to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. J Mahatma Gandhi Inst Med Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 12];25:119-20. Available from: https://www.jmgims.co.in/text.asp?2020/25/2/119/303417



Dear Editor,

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, which started in Wuhan city of China, has attained the status of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The available global estimates suggest that since the start of the outbreak, a total of 77,794 cases and 2359 disease-attributed deaths have been reported.[1] The case fatality rate of the disease has gradually increased to 3%, and simultaneously, since the inception, the confirmed cases of the disease have been reported in 28 nations other than China till February 22, 2020.[1] Such a rapid international spread and huge caseload clearly indicate that we have significantly fallen short in terms of our preparedness and action plan to respond to the potential emergence of the outbreak.[1],[2]

The need of the hour is that each of the nations should review their capacities to understand the main lacuna in the healthcare delivery system, conduct risk assessment, and formulate a strategic action plan for carrying out additional investigations, response, and containment actions.[2],[3] The national assessment has to start with the review of the national laboratory system about coronaviruses diagnostic test (viz., type of test, number of samples processed per day, existence of a quality assurance program, presence of standard guidelines on testing, mechanism of sharing laboratory results with the surveillance system, and accreditation of laboratories).[3] The next component will be to assess surveillance (such as the existence of the surveillance framework, potential to enhance the activities, notifiable status, involvement of the private sector) and risk assessment based on the collected data from multiple sources of information.[4]

The next component for review is the presence of a rapid response team in the nation. In addition, a protocol needs to be developed which states conditions under which these teams will be alerted, and prescribes about the training status of the members with regard to contact tracing or collection of respiratory samples.[2] Further, the nations should check for the presence of a national emergency preparedness plan, status of the involvement of the multiple sectors, dedicated financial support, and presence of specific legislative provisions to promote quarantine or restriction of movements of the suspect cases.[2],[3] As it has been proven in multiple earlier infectious disease outbreaks that risk communication is an essential aspect of the outbreak response, the nations have to look for the availability of a trained team of health professionals carrying out these responsibilities, their degree of involvement in risk assessment and the existence of a mechanism to communicate all the essential information in a timely manner, and the mechanism of coordination between different partners.[5]

Subsequently, the nations have to assess the existence of a contingency plan at a point of entry, which essentially includes awareness among the staff about their roles once they encounter an ill passenger, presence of stock of personal protective equipment, availability of a mechanism to communicate and alert other health authorities (if the need arises), and cleaning/ disinfection at the point of entry.[3] Specific assessment has to be done with regard to the level of preparedness of medical teams in case management by assessing their training status, the presence of health facilities, including personal protective logistics to deal with a confirmed patient, and obviously the capacity of the intensive care units.[2]

Finally, the nations should check for the infection prevention and control (IPC) arrangements in the health settings and this will comprise triage system, the existence of a standard protocol for IPC, adherence to droplet/air-borne precautions, isolation facilities, protocol to limit the number of visitors, use/removal/disposal of personal protective equipment, and protocol for environmental disinfection.[2],[3] At the same time, the nations should have a strategy to deal with those individuals who are exposed to a confirmed patient, as this will play an important role in reducing the overall caseload. In addition, the nations should have a plan for uninterrupted supply of required logistics and storage–transportation–distribution of the same to the different parts of the nation.[3]

In conclusion, in the global mission to mount an effective response against the COVID-19 outbreak, it is extremely important for each of the nations to assess their capacity and level of preparedness and aim to improve it further to meet the global standards.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 33; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/ 20200222-sitrep-33-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=c9585c8f_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Feb 23].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. National Capacities Review Tool for a Novel Coronavirus (nCoV). Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. Global Surveillance for Human Infection with Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Readiness and Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-Interim Guidance v2. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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