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Respiratory care amid COVID-19

26 May 2020

The onslaught of coronavirus (COVID-19) has put a spotlight on respiratory care facilities in hospitals across the world. In Oman too, the efforts of Respiratory Care section at the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Directorate General of Specialised Medical Care are significant. 

In the current crisis, ventilator availability remains an urgent issue worldwide. The sultanate represented by the Ministry of Health has, however, ensured the selection of ventilation machines in accordance with the international standards and World Health Organization recommendations. 

H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, said last week that Oman has 630 ventilators and purchased 300 new ones, with plans to buy more if need arises. 

During this pandemic, the role of Respiratory Care section at the MOH’s Directorate General of Specialised Medical Care is divided into two essential aspects; administrative and clinical, disclosed Khalsa al Syabi, head of the section. 

The administrative aspect falls under the Supportive services of Directorate General of Specialised Medical Care and is responsible for respirators, from selection to use. The section, in cooperation with the section of Engineering and Medical Supply, provides the appropriate equipment and supplies of the devices, if available, without the consumables consistent with the quality of the device. The task requires full experience and knowledge as the health market is broad and diverse.

In addition to supervision and follow-up of the patient’s device and its installation, the staff examine the respirator before and after use and prepare it for the second patient to be suitable for medical use.

Furthermore, it pursues to follow up on the requirements of the Respiratory Care department at intensive care units in hospitals, in addition to training the medical staff on the operation of these devices, treatment of patients,  and cleaning the device in a safe manner. The process requires the device to be sterilised with international specifications after use, then following-up the patient’s condition until being discharged from the intensive care. Therefore, the significant and tangible role of the staff amid this pandemic is remarkably highlighted. 

Al Siyabia also touched on the protocol of COVID-19, which was carried out by the Respiratory Care department regarding what is suitable for use and what is not recommended for COVID-19 patients, adding that the Ministry of Health represented by the Directorate General of Specialised Medical Care and the Department of Engineering and Medical Supply has developed a plan to provide the devices in stages.

MOH’s head of Respiratory Care pointed out that despite the availability of respirators in hospitals, which are of the best and finest types, the Supreme Committee tasked to discuss the mechanisms of dealing with the COVID-19 decided to provide additional redoubling devices for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Planes have been flown to China to bring respiratory devices and provide them as soon as possible.  Despite the availability of sufficient state-of-the-art respiratory devices in hospitals, the Supreme Committee has taken this precautionary step as a realistic view based on what is happening in other countries.

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