With WHO terming Influenza A(H1N1) as a pandemic, health experts from the State capital point out that hospitals in the State are not fully equipped to handle the rampant spread of the dreaded virus that has already claimed 26 lives in the State.

The large number of cases that are reported each day in twin cities has put pressure on government’s medical infrastructure, which is found lagging in sufficient numbers of trained personnel. “There is a lack of intensive care specialists to take care of such cases in hospitals across the State, especially in rural areas. Moreover, it is not common for doctors to handle such a situation, where there was no proper understanding about the virus till it spread,” points out Dr. Gutta Suresh, president of Indian Medical Association, A.P.

With government facilities being overcrowded, the onus is on private hospitals to step in to tackle the pandemic. “There should be involvement from private sector in public health matters and they should admit patients only if they are well equipped and have sufficient man power,” says Dr. Suresh.

However, the lack of infrastructure in both government and private hospitals has got the medical fraternity struggling to contain the virus from spreading.

“Most hospitals do not have a good number of ventilators which are important in treating swine flu. Also, the lack of trained staff in hospitals has accentuated the problem and response from the government was not sufficient to meet the pandemic,” he said.

Identifying the lack of trained man power, the Indian Medical Association will train over 100 doctors from all over the country next month in New Delhi. “Over 30 doctors from the State will be trained so that they will pass on their knowledge to doctors in districts. They will be trained in diagnosing and counselling the patients and their family members,” he informed.