A 52-year-old man from Bhatukli block in Amravati district, who worked as a labourer, has become the first victim of a heat stroke in Maharashtra this year. The man suffered a heat stroke and fell ill last week, said M S Diggikar, acting joint director of health, Maharashtra. This is the first heat stroke death registered by the state health department this year, and the 10th in the country this year. Six of the 10 deaths have been reported from Andhra Pradesh. Maharashtra has reported 142 cases of heat-related illnesses in March and April this year, with 64 cases in Nagpur and the remaining in Yavatmal, Malegaon, Latur and other districts in Vidarbha region, State Surveillance Officer Pradeep Awate told The Indian Express.
Last year, the state had witnessed seven deaths due to heat strokes, and 313 cases of heat-related illnesses were reported between March and June. A few years ago, Nagpur division had introduced the first heat action plan in Maharashtra. Sanjay Jaiswal, nodal officer of Nagpur division, said advisories have already been issued to local residents, urging them not to wander around in the heat or undertake heavy manual labour during the day.
The Nagpur division is in charge of implementing the heat action plan in Nagpur, Chandrapur, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Bhandara and Wardha, areas that see extremely high temperatures during summer. The state government has also organised several training sessions and awareness programmes, most of them in Vidarbha region, to inform people and local government officials about the precautionary measures they can take to fight against heat-related illnesses. Authorities have also conducted several training workshops and shared guidelines on preventing heat-related emergencies. A list of do’s and don’ts has already been sent to primary health centres and rural hospitals.
“So far, we have not had any major case of heat-related illnesses,” said Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health, Pune circle. “We have also asked people not to venture outdoors between noon and 3 pm, unless it is absolutely necessary,” he said.