Grassroots medical centers to get oral COVID drugs, oxygen monitors

Updated: Jan 4, 2023 By Wang Xiaoyu Print
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A medical worker in a protective suit adjusts a monitoring device for a patient at the fever clinics of the Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

China will distribute oral COVID-19 drugs to grassroots healthcare institutions and equip them with finger oxygen saturation monitors, the National Health Commission said in a circular released on Tuesday evening.

The document contains a raft of measures aimed at enabling grassroots medical facilities to promptly identify and offer treatment to patients at risk of becoming severe cases, the commission said.

"Localities should send small molecule COVID-19 drugs to grassroots clinics at appropriate times based on their circumstances and ensure that they can offer treatment under the guidance of higher-level hospitals," it said.

The circular also requires the institutions to stock up on traditional Chinese medicine drugs that can ease symptoms, as well as medications for fever and cough and antigen test kits. That would mean stockpiling enough of these materials to serve 15 to 20 percent of the population in their targeted areas for two weeks at all times.

In addition, as health experts have stressed the need to measure blood oxygen levels, the document also said that community health clinics and rural clinics should be equipped with at least 20 finger oxygen saturation monitors. The clinics should provide the monitors to family doctors, teams who visit and evaluate the conditions of vulnerable groups, and elderly care and social welfare homes.

Oxygen bags, cylinders and concentrators should also be sent to those people and places to facilitate therapeutic treatments for patients, especially the elderly, it added.

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