Following directives from the Central health ministry, the Maharashtra government has issued directives for change in protocol for the treatment of swine flu patients. Government and private hospitals have been directed to start medical treatment even before the tests are performed, if continuous symptoms of influenza are observed for more than a day in a patient.
The state government pressed the panic button after realising that climatic changes may exacerbate the situation in five major cities. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, after taking a review of the situation via video-conferencing on Monday, said the next 15 days are critical.
The CM has also announced extended help to private hospitals treating swine flu patients. He said 90% of the patients are from Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Latur. “The remaining semi-urban areas with infected patients are closer to these cities. We have decided to keep a vigilant eye on the adjoining areas, to contain the further spread of the disease,” he said.
Fadnavis said that the hospitals seeking help from the government will be provided medicines and swab tests at state-run laboratories, free of cost. He also said the government will bear the cost of treating patients from below the poverty line at private hospitals.
After the review meeting, health minister Deepak Sawant said, “Following the guidelines of the Centre, we have issued directives to all the commissioners and collectors to change the protocol of treatment and put patients showing symptoms of influenza on swine flu medication without going for swab tests. This will help us avoid a rush for tests, which cost a lot,” said Sawant.
Sawant said the government will bear expenses of patients below poverty line, and those on ventilator support at private hospitals. “There is no shortfall of medicines and we are ready to help private hospitals with additional stock. After our appeal, some of the private laboratories have lowered their rate for the tests,” he said.