Kochi Corporation to set up 24/7 help desk, mobile pharmacy

COVID vaccination camps will be held daily once sufficient stock is available, says Mayor

The Kochi Corporation will set up a round-the-clock control room and help desk to address requests for medicines and transport of COVID patients. A mobile unit will begin functioning for emergencies, and this unit will be equipped with a nurse, medicines, and oxygen supply, Mayor M. Anilkumar said.

Keeping up with the times, and in what is a first for the civic administration, the corporation council had an online meeting via videoconferencing to discuss the COVID-19 situation.

The corporation will launch an awareness campaign on COVID, measures to be taken, and facilities available if ill. The civic body’s food distribution drive for people in isolation at home will be expanded, and it will consider distributing food supply kits to homes where cooked food is not necessary, the Mayor said.

Councillors have also suggested that once vaccine stock is available, doses should be made available daily at the division level, since requests have been growing from the public.

Under the 12 health centres functioning within the corporation limits, vaccination camps will be held daily once sufficient stock is available, Mr. Anilkumar said.

At the meeting, councillors flagged transport of COVID patients to hospitals as an issue, since shifting is delayed due to an acute shortage of vehicles. Councillor V.K. Minimol said additional community kitchens would be necessary, particularly in the West Kochi area. Quarantine centres are also needed, since there are families where most members test positive, and those who are negative find it difficult to remain in quarantine at home.

Cases are soaring in the corporation area, particularly in parts of West Kochi, but vaccination camps have come to an abrupt halt, said Opposition Leader Antony Kureethara. The corporation must ensure availability of PPE kits and medicines in each health circle and at primary health centres in the city, besides arranging for ambulances to shift patients to hospitals, he added.

Four COVID first-line treatment centres (FLTCs) have been readied under the corporation — one each at Mattancherry, Palluruthy, Edakochi, and Kaloor, the Mayor said. A 100-bed facility is also coming up at the Samudrika Hall on Willingdon Island, in collaboration with the Cochin Port Trust, he added. There have been delays in shifting patients to hospitals, since all requests for shifting are addressed by the busy district help desk, the Mayor said.

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