Gynecologists and obstetricians in government hospitals have suggested performing rapid antibody tests apart from RT-PCR test on pregnant women admitted to maternity hospitals. The specialist doctors said that the test, though not confirmatory, might help detect antibodies against coronavirus, indicating infection status of the patients.

After 16 doctors at Modern Government Maternity Hospital (MGMH), Petlaburj, tested positive for COVID-19, Health Minister Eatala Rajender and senior officials of the Health department held a meeting with the specialists working in the government maternity facilities in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits on Friday.

Precautions to prevent coronavirus among doctors and how to continue medical services in the face of rising cases among doctors were discussed at the meeting.

Along with others, if any pregnant woman tests positive for coronavirus, she is sent to Gandhi Hospital. However, many asymptomatic pregnant women who don’t know about their infection status are admitted to MGMH and Niloufer Hospital among other facilities.

Obstetricians said that without knowing the infection status of a pregnant woman that they are attending may lead to more COVID cases in coming weeks. To avoid contracting the infection, the specialists suggested that Personal Protective Equipment must be provided whenever they attend a suspected patient.

“The suggestion of having swab sample collection centres at MGMH, Government Maternity Hospital, Sultan Bazaar, and other maternity facilities, was also put forth at the meeting. We will continue to attend pregnant women regardless of the extent to which coronavirus spreads in the community,” an obstetrician said on the condition of anonymity.

A doctor, who attends COVID-positive pregnant women at State-run hospitals, said that the Telangana government needs to plan what needs to be done if more specialists contract the infection or are quarantined.

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