Azad speaks with chief ministers, officials on swine flu | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Azad speaks with chief ministers, officials on swine flu

delhi Updated: Aug 11, 2009 21:53 IST
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Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday spoke to the chief ministers to gear up to tackle the growing swine flu menace that has claimed 10 lives and suggested various steps including involving private labs and hospitals.

The minister also met and briefed senior officials, who have been tasked to visit various states to help them contain the spread of the H1N1 virus.

Azad spoke to the chief ministers on Monday night and also Tuesday morning, said health officials in New Delhi.

"While appreciating the efforts being made by the state governments, he emphasized the need to step up the preparedness," according to a statement issued in New Delhi.

According to a health official: "The health minister met and briefed joint secretaries and additional secretaries drawn from various departments.

"He advised them about capacity buildings in the states," the official told IANS.

These 35 senior bureaucrats will be meeting chief ministers too. These teams have been told to complete their visits before Aug 15.

"The health minister has also requested the chief ministers to meet these senior officials when they conduct the first meeting. This will help in fast-tracking all the decisions," the official said.

The decision to rope in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials to the various states was taken Monday when Azad held a meeting with Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar and senior health officials.

The central teams will be assisting the state government in identifying the private labs for tests and public and private hospitals for screening, diagnosis and treatment.

"It has been planned to involve central, state, local governmental establishments, medical colleges, institutes and private set-ups in this integrated strategy," the statement said.

The central teams will also discuss the training of the doctors and paramedical personnel and also highlight the importance of awareness campaigns.

Azad Monday had admitted that letters sent to the states about the swine flu pandemic had little impact and said the central government would send senior officials to help them tackle the spread of the disease.

Pune tops the list of casualties with five deaths so far followed two deaths in Mumbai and one each in Ahmedabad, Chennai and Vadodara.

Tin New Delhi are 960 swine-flu infected cases, with 95 new cases reported Monday.