The Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy on Tuesday announced that it has started imparting training to its non-medical personnel to function as battlefield nursing assistants due to the resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
In times of mass medical emergencies, such as wars, battlefield nursing assistants play a vital role in assisting the frontline medical teams.
The Twitter handle of the public relations officer of the Ministry of Defence in Kochi announced on Tuesday that the training had been started at INS Venduruthy. INS Venduruthy in Kochi is one of the Indian Navy's main training establishments, with a number of establishments providing training in multiple sectors such as anti-submarine warfare, diving and naval signals.
The PRO tweeted "Training in BFNA were carried out during World War I, to assist the medical staff, should the situation become overwhelming. Presently 80 IN personnel being trained every week to augment the BFNA team, so as to be battle-ready to assist the civil society in its fight against COVID."
The announcement by the Indian Navy comes as the armed forces ramp up involvement in curbing the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, the office of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had approved temporary hiring of contractual staff for polyclinics under the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme. ANI reported, "Defence Minister has approved temporary hiring of additional contractual staff over and above the authorisation in 51 identified high pressure Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme polyclinics across the country to tide over current COVID-19 crisis."
On Monday, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi all medical personnel from the armed forces who have retired or taken pre-mature retirement in the last two years are being called back to work in COVID-19 facilities that are near their present place of residence.
Additional military manpower of doctors and nurses and military health infrastructure will also be made available to civilians.
Last year also, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Indian Navy's various commands began training non-medical personnel to be battlefield nursing assistants. At that time, the personnel were taught, “collation of information on COVID 19 for prevention, management, casualty carriage for transfer and protect self by donning the PPE and disinfection”.