With several parts of India experiencing its hottest summer ever, the Centre has urged states and union territories to review their healthcare arrangements and prepare for heat-related illnesses caused by the ongoing temperature fluctuations.
In a letter to the state government, Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, has asked that there be be availability of adequate quantities of essential medicines and necessary equipments, sufficient drinking water and “continued functioning of cooling appliances in critical areas”.
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Speaking of disseminating the National Action Plan on Heat Related Illnesses across all districts, “for effective management of cases of heatwave”, Bhushan said, from March 1, daily surveillance on heat-related illnesses has been initiated under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme in all states and districts.
Daily surveillance reports are to be shared with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The daily heat alerts shared by the India Meteorological Department and NCDC with states indicate forecast of heatwave for next three to four days, and can be shared “promptly at district/health facility level(s)” .
The dos and don’t shared by the Ministry include staying hydrated, and covered, not going out between 12 noon and 3 PM, avoiding alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated drink in large quantities, among others.