Experts warn against usage of Chloroquine, self-medication

Published March 25, 2020
The CEAG also issued guidelines for the protection of the frontline health professionals attending coronavirus patients at the public hospitals across the Punjab province. — Reuters/File
The CEAG also issued guidelines for the protection of the frontline health professionals attending coronavirus patients at the public hospitals across the Punjab province. — Reuters/File

LAHORE: The newly- formed Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG) in its first meeting on Tuesday has warned the public against the unsupervised usage of Chloroquine and Hydroxichloro-quine, saying the drug could cause serious side effects/untoward reactions.”

The CEAG in its first meeting on Tuesday deliberated the opinion of using Chloroquine and Hydroxichloroquine for prophylaxis of COVID-19 based on current available evidence,” reads a meeting document.

An official said the CEAG issued the warning after numerous complaints that a majority of the people was using the drug for the prevention of the coornavirus disease and self-medication in this regard was going unchecked.

He added the CEAG also showed its utter displeasure on the unchecked usage of social media where self-proclaimed doctors suggest the self-medication. This may cause a new ‘ health disaster’ if not stopped immediately, the meeting said.

“The committee is of the opinion that there is insufficient scientific evidences to advise Chloroquine and Hydroxichloroquine for prophylaxis (prevention) of the COVID-19”, reads the document.

The CEAG also issued guidelines for the protection of the frontline health professionals attending coronavirus patients at the public hospitals across the Punjab province.

It issued three levels of the prevention - general pre-examination triage/OPDs, triage centres for corona general wards and isolation wards/ICUs, and HDUs to be adopted by health professionals during treatment of the patients.

The CEAG has declared mandatory use of surgical masks for the entire staff working at all healthcare facilities of Punjab.

It has directed the staff working at OPDs of infectious diseases and OPDs of respitary care, endoscopic examination rooms must upgrade their surgical masks to medical protective masks (N 95).

The CEAG has declared mandatory usage of the protective face screen based on level III protection while collecting respiratory specimens from suspected and confirmed patients.

It declared that the surgical masks are disposable and may be used for six hours provided it does not get wet.

“The life of N95 mask is eight days (eight hours duty per 24 hours with two hours break) provided if they do not get soiled and are used by the same user”, read the new guidelines.

They CEAG issued guidelines to disinfect the operation threathres, sample collection rooms and other areas where the suspected and confirmed patients are attended or kept.

The body has strictly directed the health professionals and heads of the teaching and other institutions to follow these guidelines strictly in letter and spirit to prevent them from the coronavirus.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2020

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