The editorial “Girding up for a pandemic” (Aug. 6) is timely. While the attention paid to swine flu by the media is decreasing, we should not forget that the virus is still at large. The death of the 14-year-old Rida Shaikh in Pune is tragic. Further negligence by people or the government will make matters worse.
T. Arun Kumar,
It is necessary to develop a strategic plan to prepare for and prevent the influenza from spreading. Creating awareness on the symptoms, preventive measures and treatment options among primary health care personnel, government agencies and educational bodies is the first step towards combating swine flu.
It is necessary to establish testing and treatment facilities at strategic locations. As the viral pandemic is a seasonal phenomenon and that too with strains mutating and varying, the best mode of prevention is preparedness and knowledge dissemination.
The government should make available Tamiflu at a subsidised rate in private hospitals. It should set up free check-up centres at bus stands, railway stations and markets. All schools in Pune and in places where the pandemic has spread should be closed for a week or fortnight as a precautionary measure.
Rida’s death has made hospitals — private and government — more alert to swine flu. Health authorities should check the spread of the epidemic by all means. Even if they are not able to cure it, they should ensure that it is contained.
It has become a habit for us to talk about government responsibility, preparedness of hospitals, etc., as though we have no role to play in fighting swine flu. We need to observe hygiene and sanitation and keep our surroundings clean. When somebody is affected by swine flu, we should not panic or crowd around hospitals. Why not allow doctors to do their duty?