States told to gear up against swine flu

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) The union health ministry on Wednesday directed the states to gear up for swine flu (H1N1) including ensuring availability of medicines for the viral disease.

“The states are advised to ensure that they have the required and adequate quantities of drug Oseltamivir, viral diagnostic kits, viral transport media, personal protective equipment and N-95 masks, at different levels in the health care system,” said Health Minister J.P. Nadda during a meeting with officials from state health departments and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

H1N1 cases have been reported from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Telangana.

Nadda said all states need to ensure that sufficient isolation facilities were available and functional in hospitals, and are well-equipped to manage critical respiratory emergencies.

Officials from many states including Goa, Kerala, Telangana, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh attended the meeting.

The ministry has asked for a status report from the states on their preparedness in terms of masks, test kits, medicines and vaccines by October 10.

The states have been asked to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures to prevent morbidity/mortality due to the virus.

“The state governments need to to ensure adequate epidemiological surveillance to immediately detect clustering of influenza like illnesses along with requisite laboratory preparedness to test the clinical samples. Training and re-training workshops can be held for doctors to reiterate guidelines on patient categorization, clinical treatment and ventilatory management protocols,” a statement from the ministry said.

Chief secretaries of the states have been asked to review the preparedness, and issue necessary guidance to address shortfalls, if any. All assistance has been assured by the union government.

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