By: PTI | London |

November 17, 2020 8:00:28 pm

Sikh doctors, Sikh doctors working as frontline warriors, COVID-19 pandemic, bearded doctors, Singh Thattha, indian express news“Facial hair, albeit an accepted risk factor for face-mask leakage, can be overcome by using an under-mask beard cover,” the examine concludes. (Source: Twitter/@gurchrandhawa)A UK analysis team’s modern beard masking approach, dubbed because the ‘Singh Thattha’, which permits bearded medics to put on a well-fitting respirator masks whereas on frontline COVID-19 duties with out the necessity for shaving has proved efficient in preliminary trials.

The team, led by Professor Gurch Randhawa from University of Bedfordshire and Dr Rajinder Pal Singh, sought to work on an answer following quite a few calls by Public Health England (PHE) to protect doctors from ethnic minorities, together with Sikh, Jewish and Muslim communities, who have a tendency to have beards for spiritual causes.

“Because shaving was a mandatory pre-requisite for wearing respirator masks, many members of the faith-observant bearded community, such as Sikh, Jewish and Muslim, have been affected and have had to face the dilemma of redeployment from frontline healthcare jobs involving exposure to COVID-19,” mentioned Randhawa, Professor of Diversity in Public Health on the University of Bedfordshire and Director of the college’s Institute for Health Research.

“Redeployment to other areas incurs a loss of skillset and need for re-training, and junior doctors have had their training impacted,” he mentioned.

Randhawa recollects the same state of affairs within the US from again in 2005, when a faith-observant bearded Sikh man was denied the place of a corrections officer in California because the job required employees to sometimes put on a respirator masks.

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‘NBC News’ reported on the time that Kamala Harris, the then Attorney-General and now Vice President-elect, was unable to help the appointment because the beard would pose an issue because the coverage mandated gas-mask becoming.

“In both of these scenarios, the common theme was that the beard was considered to be an impediment to the wearing of a respirator mask. The other common principle was the concern for the health and safety of the employee. There was no alternative choice, or maybe, it was unexplored,” recollects Randhawa.

Against the backdrop of this conundrum, Manchester-based transplant surgeon Dr Rajinder Pal Singh got here up with the concept of utilizing an under-mask beard cowl, or a beard band historically referred to because the ‘thattha’ by Sikhs, to enable him to put on an FFP3 respirator masks “an essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medics” and his innovation ended up passing the National Health Service (NHS) qualitative Fit Test.

“Respirator masks are the ideal respiratory protective equipment (RPE) for protection from small virus particles such as COVID-19, as well as from industrial toxic gases and smoke,” explains Dr Singh.

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“In the current pandemic, for safety reasons, these masks are mandatory for healthcare workers exposed to aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) involving COVID-19. Wearing these masks requires a person to be clean-shaven to allow for a robust face-mask seal. There is no evidence to suggest why, instead of shaving, the facial hair factor cannot be overcome with an under-mask beard cover,” he mentioned.

“The concerns for safety, as highlighted by Kamala Harris in 2005, for bearded men to fit a gas-mask for industrial reasons, as well as in 2020 for COVID-19 healthcare reasons now seem to be addressed timely by the ‘Singh Thattha’ technique,” he added.

According to the University of Bedfordshire, an preliminary trial meant that there appeared to be a selection — that shaving is probably not important to don a respirator masks. The partnership between Prof. Randhawa and Dr Singh led to an in-depth examine of the promising and modern different. The duo additionally teamed up with a gaggle of co-authors for the examine — Dr Sukhpal Singh Gill of the Sikh Doctors and Dentists Association (SDDA), Dr Sukhdev Singh of the Sikh Doctors Association, Dr B.S. Ubhi, Dr Gaggandeep Singh Alg, Dr H.S. Safri and Dr Gurpreet Singh.

Over the previous few months, the team have collaborated to consider the efficacy of the ‘Singh Thattha’ approach and the examine findings, revealed within the December subject of ‘Journal of Health Infection’, confirmed that 25 out of 27 bearded Sikh dentists had been in a position to move the qualitative ‘Fit Test’ utilizing the under-mask beard cowl.

“Facial hair, albeit an accepted risk factor for face-mask leakage, can be overcome by using an under-mask beard cover,” the examine concludes.

The SDDA additionally funded a strong quantitative pilot examine in Shrewsbury, the place 5 out of 5 bearded Sikhs handed the Quantitative Fit check.

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“The concept of making the mask fit the face, rather than making the face fit the mask should be reasonably taken forth in this regard. We look forward to building on these study findings and informing future policy and practice,” mentioned Dr Gill.

Dr Safri, a dentist based mostly in Hampshire, mentioned the approach additionally helps overcome essential value and provide points related to high-level PPE.

“The alternative facemasks recommended for those unable to shave for religious or other reasons, such as PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirators) are expensive, limited in supply and are cumbersome to use. Also, dentists are unable to perform all the procedures in their repertoire,” he mentioned.

British Sikhs have been campaigning to elevate consciousness across the subject of security gear for bearded professionals since earlier within the yr. The Sikh Doctors Association had studies of a few of its members being moved out of their standard shift rota at NHS hospitals for refusing to shave their beards and failing a so-called ‘fit test’ of crucial facial protecting gear, leading to a drive to discover alternate options.

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