Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-71

COVID-19 pandemic: Responding to the challenge of global shortage of personal protective equipment


1 Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission15-Mar-2020
Date of Acceptance21-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication9-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) . Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu - 603 108
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/SHB.SHB_17_20

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  Abstract 


The Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues its upward growth in terms of the rising caseload, attributed deaths as well as the geographical distribution. Owing to the sudden rise in the number of cases, the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) has become very high and thus it resulted in their significant shortage. Hence, it is important to respond to the global shortage of PPE and this can be done by minimizing the need, promoting the rational use, and coordinating the supply chain mechanism. At the same time, steps should be taken to ensure more production of the PPE on an emergency basis. In conclusion, it is important to collectively respond to the shortage of PPE and ensure that they are available in adequate amount for the rational usage. However, the mere usage of PPE will not avert the possibility of acquisition of infection, unless it is supplemented with other standard infection prevention and control measures.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, personal protective equipment, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. COVID-19 pandemic: Responding to the challenge of global shortage of personal protective equipment. Soc Health Behav 2020;3:70-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. COVID-19 pandemic: Responding to the challenge of global shortage of personal protective equipment. Soc Health Behav [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 2];3:70-1. Available from: https://www.shbonweb.com/text.asp?2020/3/2/70/286259




  Introduction Top


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic continues its upward growth in terms of the rising caseload, attributed deaths as well as the geographical distribution. At present, a total of 2,160,207 cases and 146,088 deaths have been reported across 213 nations and territories around the globe.[1] The European region has the maximum share of global cases (50.3%), followed by the American region (36.3%), while the global case fatality has been estimated as 6.3%.[1] Owing to the novel nature of the disease and the fact that everyone wants to safeguard their health, a lot of fear has been reported among the general population, which has eventually resulted in the development of discrimination against the Asian or Chinese ethnicity.[2] In fact, a 7 point scale has been developed to assess fear among people and has an added advantage that it can be used to even delay the development of fear in people.[3] In general, the policy makers should adopt strong risk communication strategies to delay the development of fear among the masses. [2,3]


  Utility of Personal Protective Equipment Top


Due to the sudden rise in the number of cases and the droplet mode of transmission of the infection, a sudden rise in the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) was observed leading to a significant shortage right from the early days of the outbreak, and still, the gap has not been bridged.[4] It is worth noticing that the use of masks or PPE alone would not entirely remove the possibility of acquisition of infection unless it is coupled with maintenance of physical distancing of at least 1 m, frequent handwashing, avoiding touching eyes–nose–mouth, adhering to respiratory hygiene, and periodic cleaning and disinfection of the routinely touched surfaces.[4-6] Further, in health care settings, the above measures should be further supplemented with the establishment of a triage mechanism, early identification and isolation of the confirmed cases, and implementation of standard administration and environmental control measures to minimize the duration of stay of respiratory symptomatic in hospitals and thus the possibility of acquisition or further transmission of the infection. [4,5]


  Bridging the Gap of Shortage of Ppe Top


In these difficult times, it is of paramount importance to safeguard the lives of health personnel who are fighting against the infection to save the lives of patients by exposing themselves to the potential threat of the infection. However, under all circumstances, efforts have to be taken to respond to the global shortage of PPE and this can be done by minimizing the need, promoting the rational use, and coordinating the supply chain mechanism. [4,7] At the same time, steps should be taken to ensure more production of the PPE on an emergency basis and this can be accomplished either by obligations in advance from the manufacturers or instructing the private sector to compulsorily increase the production or even by coordinating with international welfare agencies and requesting them to supply PPE to meet the unprecedented requirements. [4,5]


  Temporary Measures Top


Despite the implementation of these measures, if the demands of PPE are not met, the national leaders can think about the adoption of temporary measures as a last resort. These temporary measures include the extended use of PPE beyond the prescribed duration of use, reusing PPE after reprocessing (after cleaning or sterilizing), and considering alternative items (like a cotton cloth mask) as a replacement to the standard PPE recommended by the international authorities. [4,7] However, it is important to understand that these temporary measures should not be used for critically ill patients or people who are having a coinfection with a multidrug resistant organism or those microorganisms which are transmitted either by contact or droplets.[4]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, it is important to collectively respond to the shortage of PPE and ensure that they are available in an adequate amount for the rational usage. However, the mere usage of PPE will not avert the possibility of acquisition of infection unless it is supplemented with other standard infection prevention and control measures.

Financial support

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 89. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200418-sitrep-89-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn= 3643dd38_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Lin CY. Social reaction toward the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Soc Health Behav 2020;3:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
3.
Ahorsu DK, Lin CY, Imani V, Saffari M, Griffiths MD, Pakpour AH. The fear of COVID-19 scale: Development and initial validation. Int J Ment Health Addict 2020:1-9. Ahead of print. [doi: 10.1007/s11469-020-00270-8].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. Rational use of Personal Protective Equipment for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Considerations During Severe Shortages-Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-21.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
World Health Organization. Recommendations to Member States to Improve Hand Hygiene Practices to Help Prevent the Transmission of the COVID-19 Virus-Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-2.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
World Health Organization. Advice on the use of Masks in the Context of COVID-19-Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
    



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Abstract
Introduction
Utility of Perso...
Bridging the Gap...
Temporary Measures
Conclusion
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