The armed forces have roped in Battlefield Nursing Assistants (BFNA) to help fight the second wave of COVID-19 and have suggested that a similar model can be followed by state governments and hospitals, according to senior officials. Lt General Madhuri Kanitkar, the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Medical), believes BFNAs can also train young volunteers to help relieve trained nurses of administrative duties so that they can be gainfully utilized for more important duties in the fight against the pandemic.
The armed forces are pulling out all available resources to augment it’s ”Ops CO-JEET”, a joint effort of the Army, the Indian Air Force, and the Navy against the pandemic, and have deployed BFNAs at COVID-19 care centers. BFNAs are generally trained in providing basic health care facilities in combat situations which include administering injections and helping in a breathing exercise, Lt Gen Kanitkar said.
The armed forces are even helping the state administrations by putting to use their personnel and military resources to provide succour to the needy, but more is required to be done in these testing times and, therefore, volunteers from the society are needed to assist the state governments, she said. Lt Gen Kanitkar also said a large number of Battlefield Nursing Assistants who are trained in basic medical care have been brought in for COVID-19 management.
“We have created a mechanism where we are trying for a dedicated buddy for 25 patients,” the Lt General said. Already the fresh COVID-19 wave has been treated as a war and the armed forces have launched the operation “CO-JEET” which encompasses psychological measures to allay fears and panic and augmentation of medical facilities to combat the disease.
Carrying on with the belief of ”conviction theory” that “in times of stress, if you have someone to talk to, it makes a huge difference”, Lt Gen Kanitkar said the nursing assistants from the Army, the IAF and the Navy would reassure COVID-19 patients that everything will be fine soon. “In case of need, these soldiers who are already trained in providing basic nursing aid during combat operations would help in respiratory issues by making the patients do breathing exercise,” she said.
The “Co-JEET” operation has engaged the personnel of the three wings of the armed forces — the Army, Indian Air Force and the Navy — to help restore the oxygen supply chain, setting up of COVID-19 beds and providing help to civilian administration in their fight to control the pandemic. The Department of Defence created a COVID crisis Management Committee. The CO-JEET stands for Co-workers of all the three services who will finally have ”Jeet” (victory) over COVID.
Having vaccinated close to 98 per cent of the workforce, the services are pitching in every field of national effort towards COVID-19 relief while maintaining seamless coordination with government machinery to ensure optimisation of medical efforts. This move is part of the concerted efforts to upgrade the facilities of armed forces” hospitals which are being run beyond their capacity by the depleted medical manpower, she added.