Centre sends teams to states to help them tackle swine flu
As the number of swine flu deaths in the country touched 10, the Centre asked state governments to gear up their act to face the threat of the virus and dispatched teams to all states and Union Territories to help them coordinate the preparedness. Beyond the panic | What is H1N1? | Dos and don'ts | Special | Listen to Health Editor's viewsindia Updated: Aug 11, 2009 22:09 IST
As the number of swine flu deaths in the country touched 10, the Centre on Tuesday asked state governments to gear up their act to face the threat of the virus and dispatched central teams to all states and Union Territories to help them coordinate the preparedness.
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke to all the chief ministers over the last 24 hours and emphasised to them the need to step up preparedness.
The health minister requested the chief ministers to chair the first meeting of these teams so that on-the-spot decisions are taken for swift implementation, a senior health ministry official said.
Azad chaired a meeting of 35 additional secretaries and joint secretaries drawn from various ministries who would fan out to the states to assist them in preparing infrastructure and capacity building.
He briefed the teams personally on Tuesday before they were dispatched to the state capitals.
While 14 additional secretaries would go to the big states, the joint secretaries would go to other states and Union Territories.
The teams would stay there for two-three days and would return by August 15.
The central teams will discuss with state governments new guidelines issued by the ministry of health and family welfare with record to capacity building issues such as identification of labs for testing and hospitals in private and public sectors for screening, diagnosis and treatment of swine flu patients.
The teams will also discuss the issue of training of doctors and paramedical personnel at various levels.
"The purpose of this exercise is to accelerate efforts to create a dedicated functional apparatus within the current government and private infrastructure to deal with the emerging pandemic of swine flu in the country," Secretary
Health Research Dr V M Katoch said.
Azad spoke to around 25 chief ministers, including those of Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, on Monday night
impressing upon them the need to take measures to tackle spread of the pandemic, a top Ministry official said today.
He assured them central facilities and asked them to monitor it at the best of their abilities, officials said, adding he also informed them about plans to procure two crore tablets of Tamiflu, used to treat swine flu.