Govt reviews preparedness for Zika virus disease & seasonal Influenza

Health ministry has directed that a group of technical experts should examine ways and means to increase the availability of diagnostic tests and the drug Oseltamivir at peripheral levels including chemists in private sector

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New Delhi: The Health Minister, Mr J P Nadda recently held a high-level meeting comprising senior officials from the Health Ministry, institutional heads of National Centre for Disease Control, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Central Government Hospitals, namely Dr RML hospital, Safdarjung hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), to review the preparedness efforts for Zika virus disease and Seasonal Influenza.

In the context of Zika virus disease, the Health Minister reviewed the surveillance at point of entries and in the community, laboratory strengthening, preparation and dissemination of guidelines, risk communication, travel advisory etc., to tackle possible spread of Zika virus disease in the country.

The Health Minister emphasized the need to focus on source reduction of the mosquito by all means including involvement of community and non-governmental organizations. Heath Minister also directed his officials to prepare a comprehensive strategic response framework for zika virus disease on priority basis.

For Seasonal Influenza (“Swine Flu”) the Health Minister stressed the need to continue day to day monitoring of the cases. He also directed the officials to review the existing stock of laboratory reagents, drugs and personal protective equipment and take necessary steps to augment them, if needed. Further, the Health Minister directed to review the guidelines prepared and issued earlier by the ministry (in 2014) for management of cases of Influenza. Mr Nadda directed that a group of technical experts should examine ways and means to increase the availability of diagnostic tests and the drug Oseltamivir at peripheral levels including chemists in private sector.

Mr Nadda directed that a group of technical experts should examine ways and means to increase the availability of diagnostic tests and the drug Oseltamivir at peripheral levels including chemists in private sector. He also instructed that the requirements of the States for effective ventilatory management of influenza cases is to be assessed and gaps, if any, are to be addressed.

The meeting was also attended by Mr C K Mishra, Secretary (H), Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary (DHR) and Dr Jagdish Prasad, DGHS.