|A pharmacy in HCM City’s Bình Thạnh District. The city’s Department of Health has asked private pharmacies to take an active part in the fight against COVID-19. — VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
HCM CITY — HCM City is calling for help from private pharmacies in the fight against COVID-19, and requesting more military medical staff amid a rising number of COVID patients.
The city’s Department of Health has called for private pharmacies to be more involved in the city’s fight against COVID-19. The city has more than 6,500 private pharmacies.
Pharmacies can supply equipment and medicine at reasonable prices to help COVID patients treat themselves at home, such as rapid test kits, pulse oximeters, and disinfectant.
Pharmacies have also been asked to offer health consultations to help patients at home, and to spread awareness about pandemic preventive measures, guiding customers with symptoms to test themselves and to contact local health authorities if they test positive.
Pharmacies have also been asked to keep up-to-date lists of local medical stations and community-based COVID treatment teams so that locals can contact them.
Certain pharmacies may be appointed by local steering committees for pandemic prevention and control to work with medical stations to manage drug distribution for patients at home.
HCM City is also asking the Ministry of National Defence for 537 military medical personnel to support 179 of the city’s mobile medical stations.
In August, military assigned personnel, including thousands of doctors and military medical students, helped the city deal with the fourth COVID wave. The military began gradually withdrawing its personnel from the city when the situation became more stable, but recently the city has seen a rising number of COVID patients.
In early December the city asked the Ministry of National Defence to maintain its 85 mobile medical stations until the end of the year before withdrawing its personnel to help it deal with the rising caseload.
The participation of military medical forces, public and private healthcare, and charity programmes helped the city overcome its most challenging period during the fourth outbreak, according to the department.
The number of new daily COVID cases and deaths in HCM City, the country’s COVID-19 epicentre, has been on the rise since the city’s reopening on October 1.
The city’s COVID-19 Resuscitation Hospital plans to increase the number of beds, and has asked the department for more staff.
To reduce the death rate from COVID-19, the city is focusing on testing, vaccinations and treatment for people aged 65 and over and people with underlying health conditions.
It began giving booster shots for 6.3 million people starting on December 10. —VNS