The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Wednesday directed the state government to make available medicines and special masks to people within two-three days for prevention against swine flu.
A division bench of justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and justice Ritu Raj Awasthi passed this order on Wednesday on a PIL seeking direction for proper and effective control of swine flu and other influenza-like diseases. The court also said that the central government should provide full help to make available drugs like Tamiflu and masks.
It further observed that some preventive measures should be taken at schools, colleges etc.
Earlier, the court had summoned D-G (medical-health), DM, CMO and municipal health officer (MHO), Lucknow on February 25 to inform it as to what measures were being taken to prevent the spread of swine flu. Accordingly, these officers appeared before the court on Wednesday.
According to Nutan Thakur, counsel for petitioner Tripuresh Tripathi, the events of a last few days proved beyond all doubts that the government of India and UP government had failed in controlling swine flu. People were suffering and dying because of lack of infrastructure facilities, medicines and test laboratories, the PIL alleged.
It was further alleged that state government and private hospitals were showing a casual attitude towards swine flu.
On behalf of the state government, AAG Bulbul Godiyal informed the court that serious efforts had been made by the state government for safety of people.
The court also directed the state government to provide facility of pathological test to diagnose the disease in each state-owned medical colleges.
“The gover nment should ensure that test reports are made available with in 24 hours of the receiving of the samples,” the court observed.
“The state government shall immediately take steps to enhance the medical facility for treatment of swine flu at the existing government hospitals/medical colleges and shall provide separate wards/cubicles, where patients suffering from swine flu can be kept and treated,” the court ordered.
It fixed March 10 as the next date of hearing the matter and sought compliance report by that date. Suspected patients of swine flu getting admitted to private hospitals are facing peculiar problems.
First, the treatment is costly and secondly, medicines and tests for the suspected patient’s family members are not being provided by the health department, as it does not consider a person H1N1 positive unless the test report is from a government lab.
Sample this: When the staff of a private hospital in Indira Nagar contacted health officials for a swine flu confirmatory test on Tuesday, they could not submit the sample as hundreds of others were already pending. Hence, the hospital doctors decided to carry on with treatment on the basis of tests done at their lab.
As per the decision of the district authorities, samples from private hospitals can be sent to government labs but in limited numbers - a little over 200 samples per day.
Besides, there is no provision that samples of serious patients can be tested by government labs in private hospitals. For tests, the patient has to be brought to a government lab only, which at times is difficult.
“We can request, but not force health officials. However, even if tests are delayed treatment has to be done,” said owner of a hospital in Indira Nagar.