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ITBP-run COVID-19 centre in Delhi deploys stress counsellors as oxygen support improves

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New Delhi, May 12: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)-run COVID care centre in south Delhi is now providing "uninterrupted" medical oxygen to patients, while a team of at least 30 stress counsellors has been deployed to soothe the frayed nerves of the inmates and their attendants, officials said on Wednesday.


Started on April 26, the 500-oxygen bed Sardar Patel COVID care centre (SPCCC) in the Chattarpur area here has about 357 coronavirus infected patients admitted at present and activities here are much more streamlined now, they said.

Donning white PPE or personal protection suits with 'stress counsellors' scribbled on them, these professionals take rounds of the facility and interact with the patients in the morning hours.

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"The ITBP is probably the only force that has stress counsellors in its ranks. They have been trained from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru," a senior officer of the border force said.

During regular times, the stress counsellors interact with the troops but now they have been deputed at the SPCCC to help in reducing the anxiety of patients and their attendants, he said.

"Some old or weak patients have been allowed to have attendants at the centre. The counsellors talk to them about everything... physical exercises to keep fit, how to divert mind from the fear of the unknown, anxiety and even what is happening across the globe on the COVID-19 battlefront," the officer added.

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Yoga sessions are also being held on certain days with the instructor addressing the patients in a large hall through a public address system, he said. An ITBP spokesperson said a team of about 30 stress counsellors is working under the command of senior psychiatrist Dr Prashant Mishra at the centre.

"These counsellors also provide food and other essentials to those patients who cannot leave their beds," he said. "The SPCCC is providing uninterrupted oxygen to the patients and treating them with all possible medical aid," he added. For about two weeks, the facility funded and administered by the Delhi government faced lack of medical oxygen, following which it was not able to take full capacity admissions.

The Union government had entrusted the ITBP medical wing, its doctors and para-medical staff to run the centre as they did the same last year when coronavirus cases peaked very fast.

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    The centre was again opened as the COVID-19 wave got more ferocious this time with an increased number of infected people requiring medical oxygen support while many required ICU and ventilator aid. According to official data, the centre has seen a total of 1,089 admissions, 648 discharges and 84 deaths till now.

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