Amid rising temperatures and heat waves across the country, the center has called on states / ICTs to review the preparedness of their healthcare facilities for the availability of adequate quantities of essential medicines and all necessary equipment, while ensuring adequate drinking water and continued operation of refrigerators in critical areas.
In a letter to the states / UTs on Saturday, Union Health Minister Rajesh Bhushan asked them to disseminate the guideline document ‘National Action Plan on Heat Related Illnesses’ to all districts for effective management of heat wave cases. The letter mentions that from March 1, daily monitoring of heat-related diseases has been launched under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) in all states and districts.
“Please ensure that these daily monitoring reports are shared with the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC),” it said.
“The daily heat alarms shared by the Indian Meteorological Division (IMD) as well as the NCDC with states indicate heat waves forecast for the next three to four days, and may spread immediately at the district / health facility level,” Bhushan said in the letter.
He said the state health department should continue efforts to raise awareness and capacity building of doctors, health professionals and grassroots workers on heat diseases, its early recognition and management.
“The preparedness of the health facilities must be reviewed for the availability of sufficient quantities of essential medicines, IV fluids, ice packs, ORS and all necessary equipment. The availability of sufficient drinking water at all health facilities and the continued operation of refrigeration appliances in critical areas must be ensured,” it said. the letter.
Health facilities must increase resistance to extreme heat by arranging uninterrupted electricity for the constant operation of refrigerators, installation of solar panels, measures to reduce indoor heat through cool / green roofs, window screens, shade outside, among others.
Rainwater collection and recycling facilities can also be explored for self-sufficiency in water, the letter highlighted.
States can also use information, education and communication (IEC) as well as awareness material at Community level regarding the precautions that the population must take to protect themselves against heat waves, it added.