September 3, 2015 1:43:10 am
REALISING THAT the state’s public health department needs to remain better equipped to tackle the outbreak of communicable diseases, the special committee appointed by the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) has come up with a series of revised policies and guidelines, such as vaccination regime, to fight off infections like H1N1, dengue and leptospirosis.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Satish Pawar, Director, DHS, said, “The state government has already started vaccinating pregnant women and health workers. Over 800 have been vaccinated for H1N1 infection in the state. The city corporations are advised to handle patients with hypertension, diabetes, cancer and other immuno-compromising ailments for H1N1 infection by utilising their own funds.”
A senior official from the DHS admitted that the state public health system responded late in tackling both H1N1 and leptospirosis epidemic this year, which claimed 634 and 19 lives, respectively, since January.
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“Sindhudurg and Konkan region are infamous for high leptospirosis cases every year. This year, the entire cattle was immunised on our orders. We recorded zero deaths in that zone,” Pawar said, adding that such a step was essential in an urban area like Mumbai where waterlogging was a recurring issue and provided easy transmission of the bacteria.
The 16-member committee, headed by the previous DHS director, has now streamlined all guidelines and prepared a common standard operating procedure in case of any disease outbreak.
For H1N1 vaccination, four groups have been formed according to sensitivity— pregnant women, health workers, immuno-compromised patients and general public.
“Each department will know its role from now on. We have also created coordination between animal husbandry department and urban bodies,” said Dr Pradeep Awate, epidemiologist at DHS.
The state government has now supplied civic bodies with capsules and syrup Oseltamivir (tamiflu) for treatment and vaccines for pregnant women against H1N1 infection. Additionally, corporations are also issuing orders to buy the vaccine and Oseltamivir stock for public.
“We have started vaccination of pregnant women at Kasturba hospital and three other maternity homes in Prabhadevi, Bhandup and Oshiwara. Four more centres will now be opened in four medical colleges,” said Dr Minnie Khetarpal, Deputy Executive Health Officer at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
So far, 417 pregnant women have been vaccinated in Mumbai. In the last one week, the BMC recorded 215 H1N1 cases, 23 dengue and 15 leptospirosis cases in Mumbai.
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