New Delhi: While reviewing public health preparedness for the management of heat-related illness, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday (June 21), advised to comply with the National Action Plan on heat-related illnesses, ensure the preparedness of healthcare facilities, availability of essential medicines and logistics and enhance awareness among people.
The Union Health Minister virtually interacted with State Health Ministers, State Disaster Management Ministers, Principal Secretaries/Additional Chief Secretaries and Information Commissioners of seven states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana- which are experiencing severe heatwave conditions.
According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, union minister Mansukh Mandaviya urged the states to implement the State Action Plans at the ground levels with a timely warning to the people, & ensure preventive preparedness to reduce the severe impact of heatwaves.
The Union Health Minister also advised the States that have not yet prepared the Health Action Plan, based on the National Action Plan, to do so urgently detailing specific field-level actions and ensuring effective implementation of the same.
Dr Mandaviya stated heat alert and forecasts from IMD is amplified and shared with all states daily by the Union Health Ministry. He urged states to develop training manuals on Heat and Health for State Officials, Medical Officers and Health Workers.
State-level trainers need to ensure that their training is up to field level. Capacity building of Medical Officers, Health Staff & sensitization of grassroots level workers on heat illness, with focus on early recognition and management using training manuals provided by Union Health Ministry, is crucial, he stated.
States were advised to increase resiliency to extreme heat at the Health Facilities level by ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply, installation of solar panels and adopting measures to reduce indoor heat through the installation of cool/green roofs, window shading, and shades etc, the statement said.
Effective disaster response and management is a collaborative work. With coordinated actions between the Centre and states, we can surely ensure there are no deaths due to heat waves, it added.
Minister Dr Mandaviya said,
India has demonstrated during the recent preparedness measures for Cyclone Biparjoy that timely and effective coordination between Centre and States can produce the desired outcome. Sharing of ideas, expertise and best practices by states help in enriching everyone in effectively managing heat-related illness, he added.
Highlighting the lack of accurate data from the ground, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai urged states to share field-level data on heatwaves, including on deaths and cases, so that a realistic assessment of the situation can be made.
He also highlighted the importance of timely action as soon as IMD alerts are received in the states.
Timely, advanced and wide awareness among the people on the preventive measures will hugely support in reducing the severe impact of such heat waves, he added.
Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar urged states to ramp up information and awareness campaigns among people. She urged states to accelerate the field-level implementation of State Action Plans for addressing the ill effects of heat waves.
Also, MOS (HFW) SP Baghel, also emphasized on sharing of regular advisories by states on the heatwave situation.
A granular status and analysis of overall heatstroke cases and deaths in India and heat-related illness in the seven affected States was made by the Health Ministry officials covering the trajectory of total emergency OPD, suspected and confirmed heatstroke cases and deaths and their reporting as per Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) portal. It was pointed out that the National Action Plan on heat-related illness, released in July 2021 outlined the challenges posed by a heatwave, heat-related illnesses and their management from primary to tertiary level, the SOPs for surveillance of heat stroke cases and deaths and preparedness plan before & during summer season, with special emphasis on Heat Related Illness (HRI) in vulnerable sections, the statement read.
The States were also reminded of two advisories issued by the Union Health Ministry.
As per the official release, the first was issued on February 28, 2023, by the Union Health Secretary to all the Chief Secretaries requesting compliance of states of National Action Plan on heat-related illnesses for effective preparedness of health facilities to address heat impact and management of cases. States were also advised to review health facility preparedness in terms of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, Ice-packs, ORS, drinking water as well as IEC activity for the public.
The second advisory was issued by the Union Health Ministry in the form of a wider awareness of do’s and don’ts to be followed by the general population as well as vulnerable people. It advised states to use this as a template and translate to regional languages and follow the NPCCHH advisory for employers for workplace preparedness guidance, the statement added.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai was present at the meeting, while Union Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar and SP Baghel, and Member (Health) NITI Aayog Dr VK Paul, were present in the virtual mode.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty (Health Ministry) Sudhansh Pant, DG of ICMR Dr Rajiv Bahl, AS (Health Ministry) Lav Agarwal, Director General of Health Services Dr Atul Goel, DG of IMD Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director at AIIMS New Delhi Dr M Srinivas, and senior officials of the Health Ministry were present in the meeting.
State Ministers who joined the high-level review meeting included Disaster Management Minister (Bihar) Shahnawaz, Health & Disaster Management Minister (Jharkhand) Banna Gupta, Disaster Management Minister (Orissa) Pratima, Health Minister (Telangana) Harish Rao, Disaster Management Minister (Uttar Pradesh) Anup Valmiki, and Minister of State for Health (Uttar Pradesh) Mayaneshwar Singh.
The State Health and Disaster Management Ministers thanked the Union Health Minister for the timely review meeting and his continuous support to the states.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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