Continuous efforts towards generating awareness for people for better management of heatwaves is necessary as effective address leads to effective management: Dr Mandaviya

Emphasised the importance of creating a central database with inputs from states to share field level data on heatwaves, including on deaths and cases, so that a realistic assessment of the situation can be analysed

 “Continuous  efforts  towards generating awareness for people for better management of heatwaves is necessary as effective address leads to effective management”. This was stated by Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today as he chaired a meeting to review public health preparedness for management of heat related illness. Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog were also present on the occasion.

Highlighting the lack of accurate data from the ground, Dr Mandaviya noted the importance of creating a central database with inputs from 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, advance and wide awareness among the people on the preventive measures will hugely support in reducing the severe impact of such heat waves”, he pointed out.

The Union Health Minister also advised senior officials to meet with states for better coordination and understanding, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts in efficient management of heat-related illnesses.

Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar stressed on the formation of state-level and district-level committees for information and awareness campaigns among people. She stated the importance of equipping the Ayushman Arogra Mandirs with water coolers, ice packs and other basic necessities. She also highlighted   the  need  for states to accelerate field level implementation of State Action Plans for addressing ill effects of heat waves.

Dr V K Paul noted the importance of ensuring a checklist of the guidelines being followed at the state level. He stressed on spreading awareness on treatment protocols through webinars and other methods. He also emphasised on creating a repository of data from each state on heat related cases and illness.

A granular status and analysis of overall heatstroke forecasting, pattern, climatology and vulnerable zones in India and most prone areas of increased heat wave in India was made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials covering the trajectory of rainfall patterns, humidity and forecast of transition from El Nino to ENSO. It was pointed out that the Heat Action Plans have been updated in 23 states while around 100 districts have their action campaign on heatwave awareness generation. 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.

It was informed that an advisory has recently been issued on 29th Feb, 2024 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 public. It was also informed that  do’s  and  don’ts during the summer months to be followed by the general population as well as the vulnerable people have been issued by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Shri Apurva Chandra, Union Health Secretary; Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Dept. of Health Research; Dr Atul Goel, Director General (DGHS); Ms L S Changsan, AS & MD (MoHFW), Smt Roli Singh, AS (MoHFW); Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, DG, IMD; Shri Kamal Kishore, Member & Head, National Disaster Management Authority; Prof. M Srinivas, Director, AIIMS New Delhi and Dr Subhash Giri, Director, Lady Hardinge Medical College were also present in the meeting.

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