Regional News

Swine-flu death-toll rises to 703 in India; PM urges proper treatment


MN Monitoring Desk

INDIA – The Prime Minister of India – Narendra Modi asked health authorities to ensure necessary treatment and adequate medicines for swine flu patients, while affected states were also offered assistance from the central government of India,since the death toll due to Swine-fluhas risen sharply to reach 703. Observing this deadly trend, the Pakistani health authorities should also remain vigilant and take concrete measures to prevent the spread of Swine flu in the adjacent Pakistani areas.

According to recent media reports; A high-level meeting, chaired by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, was convened to review the situation and address issues like shortage of drugs.

The meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) was attended by Chief Secretaries and medical heads of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.The cabinet secretary offered them necessary central assistance.

Seth told media after the meeting that the prime minister has given instructions to ensure that medicines are available and patients get necessary treatment. He said that quite a few of the deaths happened because the treatment was not taken in time or screening was not done in time.

The health officials of various states informed the cabinet secretary through video-conferencing about the availability of drugs, testing kits, diagnostic labs, personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks.

Maharashtra and Haryana have requested for some medicines to augment their emergency stock. According to an official press release, these medicines are now being supplied to them by the union health ministry.

The cabinet secretary stressed that the states should ensure that the outbreak monitoring cells and necessary helplines function round-the-clock.The drug controllers should ensure availability of necessary medicines such as; tablets, capsules and vaccines along with guidelines for vaccination and treatment protocol.”Medicines are there to treat swine flu, there is no need to panic,” Seth said.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths due to the disease reached 703 and the total number of cases across the country climbed up to 11,071. The Indian government had recently issued directives for health workers to be vaccinated across the country.

RandeepGuleria, an internal medicine expert at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said: “There is evidence in India, as well as internationally, to prove that health care workers are more affected by outbreaks like this kind of flu.”

“A healthcare worker can infect not only his immediate family but also patients who have less immunity like those in the Intensive Care Units of hospitals,” he said.The government has added two more designated laboratories to test for the disease and said the stock of medicines has been doubled.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said: “The situation is under control as we have enough stock of medicines. The cases are going down. We have all facilities available for testing and treatment.

“The virus has been in Delhi for quite a few years so the people of Delhi have developed some resistance, therefore the situation is under control,” he said, adding: “States which are new to the virus are badly affected, but not Delhi.”

In the capital, hundreds of patients in front of the RML hospital were seen thronging the place wearing masks.Chemist stores in the city have started selling the mask at an exorbitant rates. As per the health officials of the hospitals designated to treat swine flu cases in the national capital, the mask that cost mere Rs.2 and Rs.90 were being sold at Rs.50 and Rs.350 respectively.

March 27, 2015

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