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06/06/24 | 3:11 pm

Health ministry holds review meeting with states on heatwave preparedness

The Union Health Ministry held a virtual meeting with states and union territories to assess preparedness for heatwave conditions, fire safety, and electrical safety measures in healthcare facilities nationwide.

As per the long-range outlook forecast issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on May 27, above-normal maximum temperatures are expected across most of India in June, and normal to below-normal temperatures are likely in parts of southern peninsular India. Most areas of northwest India and adjacent parts of central India are expected to experience above-normal heatwave days in June.

State health departments have received comprehensive directives to strengthen health systems for Heat-Related Illnesses (HRI). These include a public health advisory with “Do’s and Don’ts,” IEC poster templates, emergency cooling guidelines for severe heat-related illnesses, guidelines on autopsy findings in heat-related deaths and joint communication from the Secretary (Health) of MoHFW and NDMA.

Additionally, a checklist for assessing health facility and ambulance preparedness to manage and prevent heat-related health impacts has been disseminated.

In a recent letter, states and UTs were urged to take proactive measures to prevent incidents caused by extreme heat. Senior officials in all States and UTs are closely monitoring the situation.

For instance, Madhya Pradesh has conducted fire safety mock drills in all government and private hospitals, coordinated by urban administration and engineering departments, and issued a Code Red Protocol. Odisha has established heat wave control rooms. Uttar Pradesh is running the DASTAK (Door-to-Door) campaign to raise public awareness, and nearly all health facilities have appointed fire safety offficers. Haryana has allocated specific funds to ensure the availability of essential drugs and logistics in healthcare facilities. In Rajasthan, ambulances linked to emergency numbers 104 and 108 are now equipped with cooling appliances.

In West Bengal, fire safety certificates are issued by fire departments, and mock drills are conducted regularly. Bihar is coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authority to prevent fire incidents at healthcare facilities. Delhi has issued directives and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for firefighting systems in all government and private hospitals. If a fire NOC (No Objection Certificate) is not available, even in smaller facilities, fire evacuation plans and firefighting systems must be in place.


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Last Updated: 18th Jun 2024