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FEAR OF VIRUS INFECTIONS

Use Zoom for consultation services instead of self-medicating, doctor urges

Triage is done in emergency rooms, disasters, and wars, when limited medical resources must be allocated to maximize the number of survivors.

In Summary

• Patients can use teleconsultation to see their doctors and get updates and diagnosis 

• Patients are self medicating over fears of contracting Covid-19 in hospitals 

Nurses at the triage area in Mbagathi County Hospital on Friday March 6, 2020.
Nurses at the triage area in Mbagathi County Hospital on Friday March 6, 2020.
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

Hospitals are encouraging patients to consider using teleconsultation services such as Zoom to seek services if they are sceptical about physical visits. 

Speaking to the Star, Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs and Chief of Staff at Aga Khan University Hospital Dr Majid Twahir said the safety and welfare of patients have been prioritised with hospitals implementing measures to prevent infection.

However, should patients still feel uneasy visiting hospitals, Twahir says they should use teleconsultation and triage services. 

 
 

"Through these, patients continue to receive the quality care they need from their doctors via Zoom or phone. To access the service, a patient calls their usual clinic for triaging by the nurse," he said. 

After the triaging, the nurse will advise on when they can connect with their doctor, preferably on the same day." 

Patients are opting to self medicate and missing on treatments such as dialysis sessions and cancer treatments due to the fear of contracting Covid-19 at hospitals. 

Over the counter medication such as painkillers, antacids, vitamins and cough remedies can be bought in pharmacies without a prescription and are some of the most commonly abused. 

According to MedicineNet, triaging is the process of sorting people based on their need for immediate medical treatment as compared to their chance of benefiting from such care.

Triage is done in emergency rooms, disasters, and wars when limited medical resources must be allocated to maximize the number of survivors.

H0wever, for those visiting hospitals, the Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs and Chief of Staff at Aga Khan University Hospital says measures such as screening at entry points to measure temperature, mandatory rules to wear masks have been implemented. 

 
 

"There are also dedicated housekeeping staff who are decontaminating and sterilizing hospital areas and equipment continuously," he said. 

Twahir added in waiting areas, seats are clearly labelled to enforce social distancing policies. 

"For instance, at Aga Khan, we have set up additional waiting areas and placed hand sanitizers at accessible points for use by persons visiting the hospital and offer free Covid-19 testing for admitted patients," he said. 

He said there is also a continuous staff training on Covid-19 management to prevent cross-contamination while handling different patients and provision of preventive gear. 

The doctor advises patients who are visiting hospitals to wear masks that cover their nose and mouth and only be accompanied by one person unless it is not possible. 

"In order to protect themselves and others, people coming to the hospital are urged to continue maintaining a social and physical distance of 1 to 2 metres while in the hospital," he said.

We also encourage patients to sanitize or wash their hands regularly while in the hospital. Hand sanitizers have been placed strategically within hospitals."