Minister apologises to Rida family

The minister, however, apologised for the statement hours later, after the Pune girl’s family accused him of acting irresponsibly and claimed that he has been “misunderstood”. The mother and aunt of 14-year-old Rida Shaikh, who were left fuming over the minister’s statement, demanded an apology or his resignation for the remarks.

“She (Rida’s mother) has misunderstood me and I am extremely sorry,” Azad said, amidst the deepening swine flu crises in the country. The minister clarified that he didn’t mean the girl to be personally responsible for spreading the virus.

“I am no less aggrieved than Rida’s family. She was too young to die.... The remark has been made in the context of other things. I had said that the disease is highly contagious.

It spreads rapidly from one person to another,” Azad told reporters in New Delhi. Earlier, Shireen Shaikh, mother of the Pune girl who died on August 3 told a press conference that Rida’s death has increased alertness about the spread of swine flu.

“He (Azad) says that Rida went to three hospitals and may have spread the infection to some 85 others. I am asking him to name the three hospitals. It was only after the death of my daughter that alertness grew... He is being irresponsible,” she said. Rida’s aunt Ayesha said, “It is very irresponsible of Azad to say that Rida Shaikh may have given the virus to as many as 85 people.

“How can he say such a thing about a 14-year-old girl. Did Rida go to Mumbai, where a woman died of swine flu. Doesn’t he have children? How can he be so irresponsible,” 30-year-old Ayesha, a housewife, said.

Azad wants vaccination data on Internet
Identifying immunisation as a “grey” area which was not showing expected results, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said he would soon seek for vaccination data to be available on the Internet so that anybody can access it, reports PTI from New Delhi.

“Earlier, vaccination was done separately. Now it is being done under the National Rural Health Missions, under which we are purchasing the bulk of the vaccines and passing them to state governments. At the end of the year, the state government says that these are the vaccines which we have given. But there is no proof,” Azad said.

“I personally feel that in certain areas where the vaccination is not getting desired effects, it is obvious that either the technique is faulty or the numbers are fudged,” he said.

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