COVID 19- Current Situation and Experiences from India

By Dr Mohit K Srivastava, MD, DNB *

The worldwide Coronavirus pandemic has had a deep impact in India so far, the world’s second most populous country with an estimated population of 1.38 billion.
As of 29/07/2020, there are 497,988 active cases in India, 952,743 recovered cases, and 33,425 reported fatalities.
India currently has a fatality rate of 2.3% (compared to global average of nearly 4%) and less than 5 out of every 100 COVID patient needed to be ventilated. There are also continuing improvement in terms testing, PPE, treatment and hospitalization access and overall rate of recovery. A potential natively developed COVID-19 vaccine has also been approved for Phase I and II human clinical trials.
COVID-19 has altered life and Medical and Rehabilitation practices drastically. Many of the PRM departments have closed part of their clinical activities, and maintaining contact with their patients through telephone and messaging apps. Approximately 50 of the PRM residents/doctors, along with other PRM professionals,have been involved in the direct care of COVID19 patientsIAPMR (Indian association of physical medicine and rehabilitation) has also been organising Webinars periodically to improve their member’s training and readinessI believe ISPRM can significantly help in improving knowledge and skills related to Covid-19 and rehabilitation practices.

PRM is not new to India but this field certainly hasn’t gathered the popularity that it enjoys in the West. In India, PRM began in 1960s and the Indian Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (IAPMR) was formally registered in 1972. Dr Mary Verghese, popularly known as “Wheelchair Surgeon” underwent PRM training at Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York and started one of the first Departments of PMR at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore (in southern part of India) Simultaneously, the All India Institute of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AIIPMR), Mumbai (south west part of India), an apex institute in the country for PRM was established in November 1955 in collaboration with the United Nations, assisted by an Indian expert, late Dr MV Sant.

Out of 607 medical colleges in India PRM department is present in 21 of those in 23 states and Union Territories providing residency training for 96 candidates per year in PRM which is a three year residency programme here in India.

*Report prepared with the guidance from Prof. Dr. Sanjay Wadhwa, President of IAPMR and Dr. Navita Vyas, Secretary of IAPMR