A number of private hospitals have come forward to support the government infrastructure in providing facilities to treating Influenza A (H1N1) that is threatening to create panic in the society.

The District Collector M. Beena said the co-operation from private sector has been sought to provide back-up in treatment facilities, in case more number of patients are identified with the flu and need to be treated.

She said there is no need for panic as the flu is treatable and medicines are available through the government channel. Speaking to the representatives of private hospitals and various voluntary organisations and government department heads here on Friday, Dr. Beena said all hospitals should provide a list of the number of beds that have been isolated in their hospital and also indicate the availability of ventilators so that patients with swine flu symptoms or cases that have tested positive can be sent to the nearest possible hospital.

So far, 19 cases of swine flu have been identified in the district and all are at various stages of recuperation. One patient who was in a critical stage at Little Flower hospital, Angamaly, has also shown remarkable

recovery, she said. Results of 37 samples of throat swabs sent to Delhi are still pending.

The main screening centre is the airport as only international passengers are subjected to medical screening. As more people are travelling by road and rail in the domestic circuit, Dr. Beena said that the awareness campaign should be increased at railway stations.

Dr. Beena stressed on the awareness campaign through schools, colleges and voluntary organisations. A special assembly will be held on Monday in all schools to impart information about the swine flu and the preventive steps that need to be taken. The mortality rate of the flu is only about 0.2 per cent and hence people need not panic, she said. If the flu is treated properly on time, there is little chance of mortality.

Abraham Paul, president of the Indian Medical Association, Kochi, said that they have created a CD on the preventive steps at school level that has been circulated to various schools. There are certain etiquettes that the children can adopt that will lessen contact with people while assembled in a group, he said.

Organisations like the National Service Scheme, National Cadet Corps, Nehru Yuvak Kendra, Kudumbashree, residents’ associations, KSRTC, Rotary clubs, Lions clubs and other such groups participated in the meeting and volunteered to create awareness on swine flu by organising programmes.

The Kochi Corporation Health Officer, the Deputy Director (Education) and Social Welfare Officer have been asked to co-ordinate and lead awareness campaigns on swine flu in their respective sectors.

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