Rajasthan Health Minister’s resignation demanded over swine flu deaths

February 27, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:46 am IST - JAIPUR:

Tourists wear mask to protect themselves from swine flu during their visit to the historic Jantar Mantar in Jaipur.Photo: Rohit Jain Paras

Tourists wear mask to protect themselves from swine flu during their visit to the historic Jantar Mantar in Jaipur.Photo: Rohit Jain Paras

The Rajasthan Assembly on Thursday witnessed uproar over the swine flue deaths in the State and demanded the resignation of Health Minister Rajendra Rathore for failing to contain H1N1 outbreak that has so far claimed close to 250 lives.

Opposition members did not allow the Health Minister to make a suo motu statement on the issue and walked out of the House in protest.

National People's Party leader K L Meena, Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi, and Congress chief whip Govind Singh Dotasar accused the Vasundhara Raje government of failing to tackle the swine flu outbreak resulting in “thousands” of death.

Challenging the official figures of swine flu-related deaths, the Opposition members said thousands of people had died of the flu in the rural areas either because of lack of awareness or non-availability of health care. The figures given by the government only reflect those who die in government hospitals.

Mr Dotasar claimed the tourism and hospitality industry was badly affected due to the pandemic and overall tourism sector of the country had suffered a loss of about Rs 5,500 crore so far.

Speaker Kailash Meghwal said the Leader of Opposition was not serious on the issue and was posturing for media attention.

Rejecting the charges made by the Opposition, Mr Rathore said the situation was much better in Rajasthan as compared to other States with the mortality rate being much less here.”The mortality rate in Rajasthan was just 4.7 per cent of those who tested positive for the virus as against 23.3 per cent in Punjab, 23 per cent in Chandigarh, 22.2 per cent in Orissa, and 21.4 per cent in Uttarakhand,” he said.

The government is providing free treatment to patients in all public hospitals, 32 lakh Tamiflu tablets and 65,000 syrups have also made available to them, he said. He claimed that Rs 4 crore have been paid to private hospitals for conducting H1N1 tests. If the test is conducted on a doctor's prescription, it is done free of cost, otherwise it costs Rs 500.

On availability of vaccines for doctors and health care staff, he said more than 2,490 doses were available free of cost. The vaccine was also available in the market.

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