Representational Image (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

Shubham Ghosh

EVEN as India is coping hard with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which has wreaked havoc in the country, the apprehension about a potential third wave is getting stronger. It is also being speculated that the third wave will hit children and accordingly, authorities in many parts of India have already started taking precautions. One such place is the city of Ahmedabad in the West Indian state of Gujarat.

According to a report in ANI, the city administration has started a paediatric survey to identify vulnerable children to make advance arrangements for their safety. Sandhya Rathod, a local health officer told ANI: “We have started screening children in the age group of 0-5 years. We have 206 teams of ASHA and Anganwadi workers. They are surveying around 250 houses per day.”

Rathod added that they are maintaining a separate list of children who are suffering from malnutrition and other serious diseases. She said in case a third wave arrives, the high-risk group can be reverse quarantined. She added that five teams are already in action in Sanand, with each team comprising two doctors and a woman health worker.

Children categorised in three age groups
Ahmedabad District Development Officer Arun Mahesh Babu told the news outlet that the children have been categorised into three age groups and their data have been gathered. “We have categorised children in the age groups of 0-5 years, 5-10 years and 10-15 and have taken their data from the Child and Women Development and Primary Education departments. We will keep children in the red category who will be given priority, less vulnerable in yellow and low vulnerability in the green category,” he added.

“In case a variant affecting children is detected, then first of all children in red category will be prioritised for reverse quarantine followed by children in yellow and green categories,” Babu said. He also said paediatric surveys will help in updating the data and identifying those children who are more vulnerable.

“The health infrastructure will also be improvised based on this survey. Arrangements are being made for paediatric ventilators, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at government hospitals. Currently, we are in talks with 20 paediatric hospitals for such arrangements and 14 paediatric specialists have been identified. Paediatric training is also underway at 16 medical colleges,” the official said.

India is currently the second-worst affected country in the pandemic with more than 29 million people reporting positive.