WHO issues guidelines for patients facing long-term problems

Published January 27, 2021
According to a statement, understanding the condition was one of WHO’s priority areas of work. — Reuters/File
According to a statement, understanding the condition was one of WHO’s priority areas of work. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The World Health Organisation (WHO), while issuing revised clinical management guidelines, has recommended that patients who have Covid-19 — both confirmed and suspected — should have access to follow-up care if they have persistent, new or changing symptoms.

Evidence was gathered on the post-coronavirus condition, initially termed ‘long Covid’, where people who have recovered from Covid-19 continue to have longer-term issues like extreme fatigue, persistent cough and exercise intolerance.

According to a statement, understanding the condition was one of WHO’s priority areas of work. WHO will organise a series of consultations next month to reach consensus on a description of this condition and its subtypes, and case definitions.

As many as 1,873 Covid-19 cases and 58 deaths reported in a single day

This scientific understanding will inform the name of the condition. The consultations will include a broad range of stakeholders, including patient groups.

For Covid-19 patients at home, WHO has suggested the use of pulse oximetry to measure oxygen levels in the blood. “This needs to be coordinated with other aspects of home care, such as education for the patient and care provider and regular follow-up of the patient,” it states.

For hospitalised patients, the use of low dose anticoagulants has been suggested for preventing the blood clots forming in blood vessels.

For the patients who are taking supplemental oxygen (including high-flow nasal oxygen) or non-invasive ventilation, it has been suggested that positioning patients on their stomachs would increase oxygen flow.

The guidelines include recommendations on the use of care bundles to systematise care provision for Covid-19 patients, as well as a recommendation to favour clinical judgement over models in making decisions for the patient’s care.

The recommendations were made by an independent panel of experts, the Guideline Development Group, on the basis of detailed rapid reviews of all available evidence, the statement claimed.

Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday reported 1,873 cases and 58 deaths across the country.

According to data released by the NCOC, as many as 310 ventilators were occupied and the number of active cases was 34,412, while 2,228 Covid-19 patients were in critical condition.

Moreover, the national positivity ratio was recorded at 4.4 per cent with the highest ratio of 25.76pc in Hyderabad, followed by 18.75pc in Mirpur and 11.62pc in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2021

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