A team of experts from the Union Health Ministry will visit States such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to support them in public health response measures to address heat-related illnesses, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.
“Several states have been experiencing severe heat conditions since the past few days and this underscores the importance of sturdy and timely preparedness through awareness and early actions,” Mr. Mandaviya said, adding that the Ministry had issued a heatwave advisory earlier this year in which the States were advised to review health facility preparedness in terms of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, ORS, drinking water, and so on. The Minister held a meeting on public health preparedness for heatwave management across the country.
Mr. Mandaviya said that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) would conduct research on how to minimise the effect of heatwave on health, with short, medium and long-term action plans.
The Ministry has asked the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to issue daily weather forecasts in a manner which can be easily interpreted and disseminated.
At the meeting, the Minister was apprised that daily surveillance on heat-related illness under the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health (NPCCHH) had been ensured in all States and districts on Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) and all the health facilities had been asked to participate using P-form level login.
The Ministry, in a release, said that a national action plan on heat-related illness was released in July 2021 outlining the standard operating procedures (SOP) for surveillance of heat stroke cases and deaths with a preparedness plan before and during summer season.
It also provides special emphasis on heat-related illness (HRI) in elderly, infants and children, pregnant women, outdoor and manual workers, and other vulnerable sections. Under this action plan, States were advised to increase preparedness to extreme heat at health facilities level by arranging uninterrupted electric supply, installation of solar panels and adopting measures to reduce indoor heat through measures of cool/green roof, window shading, outside shades and so on.
“Sensitisation of masses is important, but sensitisation and capacity building of medical officers, health staff, and grass-root level workers on heat related illness, its early recognition and management is also important,” the Health Ministry said, urging the States and Central agencies to awareness among people regarding the preventive measures.