COVID-19: Next few months to be full of challenge, time for collective battle, says prominent Urologist Dr Saleem Wani | KNO

‘Need to set up Plasma Bank, 5000 people have recovered, they can save lives of hundreds of Virus affected people in J&K’
COVID-19: Next few months to be full of challenge, time for collective battle, says prominent Urologist Dr Saleem Wani | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Srinagar, July 09 (KNO): A prominent Urologist from Kashmir, Dr. Saleem Wani on Thursday said that COVID-19 is an ongoing battle and Jammu and Kashmir will witness a “challenging situation” in the next few months in case the people don’t follow precautions in spirit. The noted doctor also said that people need to understand that only lockdown has ended while the virus is still there. “I am pained to see the people especially those above 60 years-old not even wearing masks on the roads. This attitude has to come to an end and people need to understand that only lockdown has ended while the virus still exists in Jammu and Kashmir,” Dr. Wani said in an exclusive chat with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) “We cannot tell people to follow the guidelines with batons. But, we need to make them fully aware about the ramifications of not following the advisories,” he said. Wani, who was recently tested positive for COVID-19 and later recovered, also shared his experience as a doctor and the patient. He said as a doctor he knew that this too will pass. “But, as a patient, it is a disaster. The main thing a patient faces is social stigma. During the period, your own people, members who we have spent time with, try to run away from you. They too can’t be blamed as nobody wants to die. The situation faced by a patient is very painful,” he said. He said when a patient is tested positive, he or she is being isolated. “But, I believe that God puts his loved ones in isolation to introspect,” he said, adding that negativity like social stigma has to come to an end. The famous Urologist and a kidney transplant surgeon also said that “we should salute the people who are warriors. The real warriors for me are Ambulance drivers, nursing staff and sanitary workers in the hospital, who are doing tremendous job amid the pandemic.” Asked about the contrary reports pouring in regarding COVID-19, he said some organizations say the virus is airborne while some claim it is not. “However, all these organizations have been warning people to get ready for the worst situation. Therefore, we need to get ready for it and should follow the guidelines and advisories in letter and spirit,” the famous Urologist further stated. “When you don’ have treatment, when you don’t have vaccine available, we have no other option than taking all the preventive measures. First, people should wear masks. Second social distancing should be maintained. Third the respiratory etiquettes should also be followed,” he told KNO Dr. Wani was the third COVID recovered patient and donated blood plasma in Kashmir for the critically ill virus patient here. When asked about his decision of donating the plasma, he said two patients before him have already donated blood plasma. “I was the third recovered patient to donate my blood plasma. But, when my name came forward, it must have become an inspiration for many,” he said. “Although there is no treatment for the virus, but there are scientific papers which support plasma therapy while many of the States have already started giving convalescent blood plasma therapy to the COVID patients. I was approached by the concerned department and they told me to donate blood plasma therapy following which I decided to donate my blood plasma. It is not about me only. But, people who recovered from the virus have also come up to donate their blood plasma. After my news became viral, people have now been enrolling themselves for the blood plasma donation,” he said. “I believe, to fight this pandemic, we need to come forward and put our efforts in whatever little way,” he said, adding that the government and the Non-Government Organizations (NGO) are doing tremendous job amid the pandemic and anyone who want to help the society should be a welcome. “We should also prepare a plasma donor information list. We should come up with the plasma bank facility that will help the people at this juncture. There are over 5000 people who have recovered so far in Jammu and Kashmir and they can give life to many others. We need to make them aware of how many people can be saved. It is the people who have to come forward. We need to put our heads together. Contribute in whatever little way to combat the deadly virus,” he said. When asked about the idea of Cadaver organ donation, he floated in Kashmir years ago; Dr. Wani said, “You need to motivate a person for donation. The best time to motivate the family of a person for organ donation is when he is died. We need to talk to his family and relatives that his organs can give life to many people. Although the person is dead, his parts can still give life to many others. That’s how we can overcome the shortage of organs.” Asked about the growing COVID cases, he said that the peak of the pandemic is yet to come and our efforts should be to save lives and prevent the second peak as has happened in Spanish flu in 1918. “We need to understand the situation witnessed years ago in Spain. Even if we have better facilities, we still need to take precautions,” he added. Asked whether privatization of the health sector is a viable option at present, Dr. Wani said such a thing can’t happen overnight as it needs infrastructure and manpower to take such a decision. About many complaints about mistreatment to the COVID cases, he said there is dearth of staff. “We need to rationalize the staff to ensure that if any eventuality happens with the already working staff then the system doesn’t remain unattended. The shortage of staff at present was the only reason that such a complaint is coming to the fore. However, the patients are being treated well and no patient is being mistreated,” he said. Meanwhile, the Urologist also appealed to the people to come forward to help the non-salaried poor families whose only bread earner is tested positive and leaves no scope for sustenance of his dependents. “For instance, if a fruit seller is tested positive, his family is being kept under quarantine and then the family would have one to earn livelihood for them. Therefore, keeping in view such a situation, we should keep ourselves ready to help such a group in our society so that they also will not suffer,” he added. The famous Urologist also stated that there was no need to keep all the positive patients in the hospital. Quoting the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry, Dr. Wani said the people who are mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic can even be managed at home provided they have infrastructure i.e. a room, attached washroom, healthy member at home, who can serve others at home. He said the patient needs to remain in close contact with the Nodal Officer, who will guide him from time to time. “Unless the patient is suffering from any other disease, he can be managed at home as well,” he said while quoting the guidelines—(KNO)