Centre lists guidelines for private hospitals


“The isolation ward should not have central air conditioning to protect other patients in the hospital. If it is connected to a central AC plant, that has to be taken off,” Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here on Monday.
The entry and out patient department for influenza patients have to be separate. Also there should be a separate team of well-trained doctors and nurses, he said. Also, everybody in the isolation ward –– doctors, nurses, paramedics and cleaning staff –– have to wear the personal protective equipment, he said, adding that states have been asked to identify private laboratories and diagnostic units capable of handling H1N1 cases.

The Centre, however, is unhappy with the slow pace of work in various state health departments, who have failed to understand the emergency nature of the epidemic.

“We cannot spoon feed everything. Health is a state subject and state governments have separate health budgets and health departments,” he said. To accelerate work at the state level, the Centre has decided to ask 35 IAS officers, at joint secretary and additional secretary level, to work for the health ministry on a temporary basis.

After a thorough briefing, the officers will be asked to travel to the states to sensitise the state administrative mechanism so that a large number of hospitals and diagnostic labs –– including the private sector –– can be identified quickly following the central protocol.
This has been decided at a review meeting on Monday attended by Azad and Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar among others. Till date, the government has not approached any private hospital, Azad clarified.

The national stocks of Tamiflu will be augmented too. Out of the existing stock of one crore tablets, 75 lakh has been distributed. “We will order two crore Tamiflu more,” he said.

India will also import an additional 22,000 testing kits as the current stock of 27,000 kits is depleting fast. However, getting the supply may take a few days, as only one US firm manufactures the kits.

Encouraged by the success of four thermal imagers at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi, the Centre has also decided to import more such imagers to monitor the body temperature of passengers arrived in other international airports.
“Because of the imagers, the detection rate at the IGI improved from five to 20 per cent,” Azad said.

‘New wave could sicken millions’
As India and other countries grapple with the swine flu, experts here warned that a new wave of the deadly virus is ready to explode and could affect millions, reports PTI from Washington. Its rapid spread would dominate the proceedings of the North American Leaders’ Summit being held in the Mexican city of Guadalajara. Health authorities and experts here have warned governments across the world that the new wave of swine flu could badly hit people in the poor and least-prepared parts of the globe.

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