On the occasion of World Health Day, Dr Subramanian Swaminathan, Director – Infectious Diseases, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai analyses the many changes in healthcare process, like the increasing importance of infection control, post COVID-19 pandemic
We are still in the midst of a severe wave of COVID-19, and we have already learnt a lot. Our way of life has changed- indeed, a change has been forced upon us.
Healthcare has also adapted. The importance of pivoting and changing in response to the threat has been the hallmark of successful healthcare systems. Even the government’s response has been grounded in the principles of infection control. We have learnt to handle routine care, including transplant, even during the surge, and have done so with astonishing success. The importance of infection control, training and process development has made hospitals safer than ever.
Although it is quite hard on the lungs, it is quite rare to see long term lung injury, fortunately. There are mental health issues related both to COVID-19, and the lockdown that need addressing. We have seen more heart attacks and strokes during this time, and fortunately, not much more. The importance of basic concepts like handwashing and masking are here to stay.
The concern is that the virus might adapt and become a seasonal virus like flu. That would mean learning to live with COVID in the long run, with some people falling sick periodically. The vaccine effort has also been slow, which makes this almost inevitable.