Special Correspondent

Four States submit memorandum to Centre

  • Health Ministers call on Anbumani Ramadoss in New Delhi
  • Centre urged to set up more viral diagnostic laboratories BANGALORE: Karnataka on Tuesday joined Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra in requesting the Centre to release Rs. 92.48 crore to tackle chikungunya, a disease that is causing considerable concern in these States.

    The State has sought Rs. 20.60 crore to buy drugs, fogging machines and hire manpower to tackle the disease. While Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have sought Rs. 22.04 crore each, Maharashtra has asked for Rs. 27.80 crore from the Centre to fight chikungunya and other vector-borne diseases.

    Diagnostic labs

    The States also urged the Centre to fund the setting up of viral diagnostic facilities for getting a correct epidemiological picture of the disease.

    A delegation of Health Ministers of the four States, led by Karnataka Health Minister R. Ashok, submitted a 14-page memorandum to Union Minister for Health Anbumani Ramadoss in New Delhi. Each State wanted a full-fledged viral diagnostic laboratory set up.

    The memorandum said the four States had to depend on viral diagnostic facilities in Pune and Bhopal. It was pointed out to Dr. Ramadoss that the laboratories had appealed to Karnataka to stop sending blood samples to test for chikunguna since they had already reached saturation point. The National Institute of Virology and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, which had branches in all the four States, required financial grants of Rs. 50 lakh for each full-fledged viral diagnostic laboratory.

    A conference of Health Ministers of the four states was held in Bangalore on July 30. Chikungunya is prevalent in 20 districts of Andhra Pradesh, 27 in Karnataka, 33 in Maharashtra and 24 in Tamil Nadu.

    Manpower

    To tackle the disease on a war footing, the delegation proposed to employ one daily wage worker for a population of 5,000. It sought Rs. 38.80 crore to hire workers on contract for the next three months. Karnataka needed 10,000 workers (Rs. 7.20 crore), Andhra Pradesh 12,000 (Rs 8.64 crore), Tamil Nadu 12,000 (Rs. 8.64 crore) and Maharashtra 20,000 workers (Rs. 14.4 crore).

    The four Governments also requested the Centre to supply symptomatic drugs such as Etomol (500 mg) tablets and Dicofenac Sodium (50 mg) tablets for treatment of the disease. The estimated cost of the drugs for each state is Rs. 6 crore.

    The memorandum stated that the disease had spread to smaller municipalities and at least 30 vehicle-mounted fogging machines were required for each State. The delegation sought 200 portable fogging machines to be deployed in rural areas in each State.

    The four States also sought Rs. 50 lakh each for taking up advocacy, information, education and communication activities.

    Apart from Mr. Ashok, the memorandum was signed by Rosaiah of Andhra Pradesh, K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran of Tamil Nadu and Ranjit Kambli of Maharashtra.

    `No shortage of drugs'

    New Delhi Special Correspondent writes:

    Mr. Ashok later told presspersons that there was no shortage of drugs for the treatment of chikungunya in the State and the Government was fully geared to combat the disease.

    The Health Department currently had a stock of Rs. 20 crore worth of drugs for the disease and he had asked for more drugs from the Centre so as to be prepared for all contingencies.

    Describing the response of Dr. Ramadoss as positive, he said the State Government had also recently released Rs. 8.4 crore to step up the fight against the disease.

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