Medical Fraternity Asks Central Government To Withdraw GST on Hand Sanitizers, Masks

Hospitals, ambulance, nursing and support staff desperately require sanitisers, masks and other protective equipment in 24x7 mode

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Sanitizer
, hospitals, ambulance, nursing and support staff desperately require sanitisers, masks and other protective equipment in 24x7 mode. Pixabay

In the wake of the increasing threat of Covid-19, the medical fraternity has asked the government to consider withdrawing GST on hand sanitiser and masks in these ‘difficult times’.

“We understand that certain ingredients (in sanitisers) are taxable, still in these difficult times or at least for next few months, hand sanitisers should not attract GST,” said Sandeep Sharma, President of Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) Delhi branch.

According to Sharma, hospitals, ambulance, nursing and support staff desperately require sanitisers, masks and other protective equipment in 24×7 mode.

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“We require all these items in bulk, but at present we are paying 18 per cent GST on sanitisers and 5 per cent on masks etc. Besides, medical practitioners and public at large also require hand sanitisers and masks as a major preventive measure to keep away from the highly infectious virus. It would be a big relief for people if GST is not levied on these items,” said Sharma, who coordinates with all leading chains of top private hospitals and doctors.

Meanwhile, the President of the Trained Nurses Association of India (TNAI), Roy K George, has appealed to all the state governments to ensure urgent and smooth supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), and essential items like masks and sanitisers to serve patients and combat the spread of the infectious disease to the medical staff.

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In the wake of the increasing threat of Covid-19, the medical fraternity has asked the government to consider withdrawing GST on hand sanitiser and masks in these ‘difficult times’. Pixabay

“Our state associations, particularly from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, have informed us that adequate supply of PPEs, masks and sanitisers has to be provided to the nurses and other medical staff,” said George, adding, “What happened in Mumbai, where 26 nurses tested positive for Covid-19 in private hospitals, suggest that frontline soldiers of the this war against virus need more attention in terms of equipments and medical kits.”

TNAI, founded in 1908, has 6 lakh nurses as its members, making it one of the largest associations of nurses in the world. It has postponed all its celebrations related to the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, legendary social reformer and founder of modern nursing.

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While nurses world over combat the dreaded infectious disease, the WHO has declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honour of Florence Nightingale. (IANS)

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Nurses: The Frontline Fighters Against The Coronavirus Fight

Nurses are the heroes on the frontline during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

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Nurse
Nurses play a crucial role in health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, and care. Pixabay

BY LT. LALITA THAMBI

Nurses are like the axel of a wheel to keep it in place. Take away the axel and everything falls apart. Nurses play a crucial role in health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, and care, and are the heroes on the frontline during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

For the past 18 years, the public has ranked Nurses as the No.1 profession when it comes to honesty and ethics in Gallup’s annual poll, so nurses have held the public’s respect for almost two decades. But this year, Nurses have gone above and beyond what the population worldwide imagines they do.

Throughout the past few days and weeks, I have witnessed remarkable levels of nursing care unfold, incredible displays of professional unity, and an amazing sense of commitment and dedication from all those who are fighting the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic from the frontline.

Nurses manning the frontline in the war against corona virus are giving their all to take care of COVID-19 patients, despite the physical, mental, and emotional toll. Never have we experienced a global health crisis of this magnitude. During these uncharted and uncertain times, their hard work shines as a beacon of hope. Many nurses across the globe have been working day and night to protect us from the deadly virus even at the cost of their own health.

As a bedside ICU nurse, when you add personal protective equipment (PPE), your whole routine changes. It is hot. It is hard to talk. Your glasses fog up when you have a mask on. You are motioning to others outside the room in a kind of horrible game of charades (to get) what you need. You must cluster your care. You worry about every step you take and everything you touch inside and outside the room, and you wash your hands they are raw. You face insomnia and stress due to extended shifts. You get less time for family or you are completely out of touch for long. Yet, Nurses have consistently cared for frightened and severely ill patients.

Nurse
Nurses are like the axel of a wheel to keep it in place. Pixabay

Each day they go into work, they go in with the intent of giving patients the best care they can in order for them to recover from the virus (and other illness and diseases). When patients go on discharge, the brightest hidden smile behind the mask but spark in eyes reveals the happiness a nurses enlighten her heart with. Even when patients die despite nurses’ best efforts, they must process a tsunami of emotions, including sadness and grief.

While the situation continues to change and evolve every day, I would recommend the following to be taken care by all our nurse leaders and nursing organisations through the COVID 19 pandemic.

Show strength in leadership: Now more than ever Nurse leaders need to be present and collaborate and work together as a team. Teamwork is the key. The decision-making cycle is rapid-from resource preparation and planning to necessary improvements, process changes and more. Executive nurse leaders are present on all system wide executive phone briefings and incident command briefings, completed with action items and deliverables. Building an infection control team along with nursing leaders is said to be an effective system in raising infection control profile and changing practice in clinical areas, especially during such health crisis.

Communicate timely and accurate information to nursing caregivers: Communicating in real time and with transparency is the safest way to manage the situation. With new challenges emerging by the minute, it is especially important that nursing caregivers are made aware of the steps and actions being taken by their leadership team to remedy issues and maintain safety for themselves and their patients. At Fortis Memorial Research Institute all our COVID-19 messaging is appropriately aligned with our four care priorities: care for patients, care for caregivers, care for organisation and care for the community.

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Nurses have ensured mass health over their comfort in these tough times. Pixabay

Ensure Nursing caregivers safety: In times like these, nurse leaders should be actively partnering with leaders from other departments for multidisciplinary approach towards better outcome, as well as communication and coordination with state and local officials. At Fortis Memorial Research Institute, we are continually updating our PPE guidelines. Clearly and precisely convey intended caregiver safety behaviors: With a goal to limit exposure to COVID-19 appropriate caregiver safety behaviours should be reviewed daily which includes social distancing, proper sneezing, and coughing etiquette etc.

Another important recommendation to nurse leaders is to actively use predictive modeling to prepare for future challenges so you and your teams can continue to provide patients with the safe, high-quality care they deserve. Now is the time to take action-Do not wait.

Our leadership teams are communicating round the clock and came up as a strong team to fight against COVID-19. It began with meticulous planning to ensure the safety of the nurses and medical teams including covid and non-covid areas. Many nurses opted to work voluntarily in these wings. Skill mix was kept in mind. Preparedness is the key and healthcare needs to transform itself to tackle extreme situations like these by bringing about infrastructural and process changes, like pre-holding areas, specialized isolation units, negative pressure areas, Creating Green corridor as safety measure, availability and efficient utilization of manpower and PPE, frequent hand washing, regularly disinfecting surfaces, push buttons in lifts, door handles and knobs, frequent mock drills, patient flow management drills etc. At FMRI we are also encouraging telemedicine or virtual visits when possible.

Up-to-date and frequent communication to nursing caregivers by nurse leaders brings caregivers together, encourages confidence, helps clarify any confusion, ensures high quality, safe care continues and shows ongoing support and appreciation.

In the inpatient setting, another strategy we have implemented is care bundling, which is intended to limit the number of times nurses, nursing assistants, care managers and other caregivers enter a patient’s room. Multiple tasks are being completed with one caregiver visit to the room. Care Managers also give calls to patients from outside patient’s rooms, developing more of a telephonic relationship with patients, they review discharge instructions via phone, email regulatory paperwork to the patient and more. With this more streamlined approach to care, FMRI is also seeing added efficiencies to care delivery and discharge processes, as well as reductions in patient length of stay.

Today we are more grateful than ever to all our nurses as they work, round the clock, putting themselves at risk, to fight the ravages of this pandemic. With that in mind this Nurses Week, I am not just going to say “Happy Nurses Week” to my nurses Instead I am joining hands with our FMRI Team to echo that.

* You are Strong

* You are amazing

* You are indispensable

* You are role models

* A Big Thank You!

Also Read: Eid Celebrations Amid Coronavirus are Different

Look ahead to continue providing safe, high quality patient care with our team of great frontline warriors. (IANS)

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Masks Worn During Pandemic Should be Washed Regularly

Wearing a mask made from cotton fabric is recccomendable

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A mask used during the times of Coronavirus pandemic is suggested to be washed regularly. Pixabay

Cloth face masks worn during the coronavirus pandemic should be washed regularly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Public health experts recommend wearing a mask made from cotton fabric, such as T-shirts, or scarves and bandannas, when you are outside and unable to maintain social distancing from others.

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Anissa Archuleta, center, sits at a window with her sister Alexis Archuleta, right, and her mother Jaime Ortega, at their home in Midvale, Utah, May 18, 2020. VOA

The covering should be washed daily after use, says Penni Watts, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Nursing.

It is best to clean your mask in a washing machine or with soap and hot water. The mask should be dried completely. Dry it in a hot dryer, if possible.

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Watts advises storing the clean, dry mask in a new paper bag to keep it safe from germs.

The CDC has urged people to use washable cloth coverings to ensure there are enough surgical and N95 masks for medical workers. (VOA)

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Tamil Nadu CM Allows TV Serial Shootings to Resume in the State

Tamil Nadu allows shooting of TV serials subject to conditions and guidelines

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami has allowed to restart television serial shooting in the state subject to precautionary guidelines. Wikimedia Commons

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Thursday allowed television serial shootings in the state subject to conditions.

An official statement said Palaniswami considered the representation received from the industry and has allowed shooting of television serials subject to the following conditions: Shooting is allowed only indoors or in the houses having compound walls; No shooting is allowed in public places, except in rural and on Covid-19 containment areas; No permission for onlookers; Spraying of disinfectant before and after the shooting at the shoot spots; Barring actors, all others should wear masks and maintain social distance.

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Outdoor shooting is not allowed according to the guidelines. WIkimedia Commons

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During breaks actors too should wear masks; All equipments, vehicles coming to the shooting spots should be sanitized; a maximum of 20 persons alone are permitted at the spot including actors and technicians. (IANS)