Health Minister, P.K. Sreemathy, accompanied by Chief Health Co-ordinator, Dinesh Arora and other officials, launching the A(H1N1) awareness campaign by pasting a poster on a van at Pampa on the foothills of Sabarimala.
The Union Ministry of Health has sent a special team to Sabarimala to oversee the healthcare facility at the pilgrim on the basis of a request by the State government seeking Central assistance for the same.
The Central team led by Joint Director of National Institute for Vector Control Diseases, Jagvir Singh, visited various healthcare centres at Sabarimala on Thursday and Friday.
The team also expressed satisfaction on the arrangements being made by the Health department especially to check A(H1N1) influenza spread at Sabarimala where as many as five crore people from different parts of the country visit during the two-month long Mandalam-Makarvilakku pilgrim season.
The team also visited the cardiology centres at Apapchimedu and Nelimala-Top.
Mr. Singh maintained that the healthcare facility at Pathanamthitta General Hospital should be strengthened, besides ensuring uninterrupted water supply.
Launching the awareness campaign against A(H1N1) influenza threat at Pampa on the foothills of Sabarimala the other day, Health Minister, P.K. Sreemathy, said the government has taken extra care to prevent the viral infection and to manage any A(H1N1) related health problem, along with various other health issues.
She said Dr. Dinesh Arora, Deputy Health Secretary, has been deputed as Chief Health Co-ordinator and Addditional Director of Health Services, Anilkumar, joint co-ordinator at Sabarimala and both of them would be closely monitoring the functioning of the Health machinery at the pilgrim centre.
Ms. Sreemathy said ‘Help desks’ were in place at different places at Sabarimala as well as various base camps, railway stations and bus stations in an effort to provide on-call healthcare to the pilgrims at a time when the State is facing the threat of A(H1N1) influenza.
Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Arora said the Union Government has allotted two lakh more Tamiflu tablets. With this, the stock of Tamiflu tablets in the State has gone up to 3.5 lakh, he added.
Mr. Manoj Joshi, Health Secretary, said health desks have been put up at all major hospitals, railway stations, bus stations and the main points at Nilackal, Pampa and the Sannidhanam, where devotees coming from different parts of the country assemble during the pilgrim season.
The inter-active Voice Response System too is in place to guide the pilgrims and provide them every possible healthcare facility they needed, said Dr. Arroa.
Dr. Arora said A 20-bedded isolation ward for A(H1N1) patients has been arranged at Pathanamthitta General Hospital and a 10-bedded isolation ward at the Speciality Hospital at Adoor.
Banners and posters highlighting the preventive aspects of A(H1N1) infection in six different languages (English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Kannada) have been put up in the nook and cranny of Sabarimala as well as its base camps like Pandalam, Erumely, Pampa and Nilackal.
However, no A(H1N1) case has been reported from Sabarimala so far, Dr. Arora said. He said the State government has taken every possible measure to prevent the spread of various contagious diseases at Sabarimala and surrounding areas.
Dr. Arora also stressed the need for certain respiratory etiquettes, besides ensuring cleanliness and personal hygiene as preventive measures.