Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan during the meeting (Photo/ANI)
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan during the meeting (Photo/ANI)

Union Health Minister reviews COVID-19 preparedness in UP, Odisha, West Bengal

ANI | Updated: May 07, 2020 18:03 IST

New Delhi [India], May 7 (ANI): Union Minister of Health Dr Harsh Vardhan held a high level meeting today with Jai Pratap Singh, Health Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Naba Kishore Das, Health Minister of Odisha in presence of Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (HFW) and senior officials from both Centre and the States to review the situation, actions being taken and preparedness for management of COVID-19 in the three States.
At the outset, Dr. Vardhan appreciated the dedication of all the States in combating COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
After a brief presentation on the status of COVID-19 cases in the States and its management in the States, Dr. Vardhan stated, "States need to focus on more effective surveillance, contact tracing and early diagnosis to keep low fatality rate".
"Surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) / Influenza Like Illness (ILI) should be intensified in unaffected districts and districts which have not reported cases from last 14 days and more through the IDSP network in collaboration with Medical College Hospitals. Such measures will help to indicate the presence of any possible hidden infection at an early stage thus helping in its timely containment", he added.
Dr Vardhan stressed that States need to ensure adoption of Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) practices in all healthcare settings to avoid/reduce chances of infections to health care workers.
States were advised to ensure that all Central Guidelines/Advisories are implemented till the field level in earnest.
The States informed of the measures taken to partner with private hospitals for COVID-19 management, viz. Uttar Pradesh stated that they have identified private hospitals as dedicated COVID health facilities on payment basis.
He appreciated the best practices shared by the District Magistrates/Commissioners and other officials of various districts like "Gram Nigrani Samitis/ Mohalla Nigrani Samitis" developed in Uttar Pradesh for more effective surveillance and search of cases, etc.

In view of the surge in number of migrant labour expected to reach the States in the days to come, Dr. Harsh Vardhan exhorted the States that robust strategy and mechanism need to be drawn up for their testing, quarantine, and treatment of the positive cases.
Some States shall also see immigrants from abroad too. An effective strategy also needs to be put in place for their testing, institutional quarantine and treatment, if needed.
Dr Vardhan also suggested that along with the surveillance teams in the containment areas, community volunteers may also be identified at the ward-level to spread awareness about the preventive measures like hand washing, physical distancing etc., and who can also play an effective role in removing the stigma prevailing in the society.
It was reiterated to the States that attention needs to be accorded to provisioning of non-COVID essential health services regarding immunisation drives, TB case finding and treatment, providing blood transfusion for dialysis patients, treatment of cancer patients, ANC of pregnant women, etc. It was also stated that the Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres could be used for screening for hypertension, diabetes and three types of cancers.
Telemedicine and tele-counselling could be used for a larger population in view of the lockdown. States have been advised to keep adequate stock of essential medicines.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also spoke to the DMs of Agra, Kanpur, Merut, Sahranpur, Gautum Buddh Nagar, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, and Baleswar, Ganjam and Jajpur in Odisha and discussed in detail the status and management of COVID-19 in the districts.
He stated that as on May 7, a total of 52,952 cases have been reported from the country in which 15,266 persons have been cured and 1,783 deaths had occurred. In the last 24 hours, 3561 new confirmed cases have been added and 1084 patients were found cured.
He added that in comparison to other countries, India is in a better condition as the fatality rate is 3.3 per cent and recovery rate is 28.83 per cent. He also added that there are 4.8 per cent patients in ICU, 1.1 per cent on ventilators and 3.3 per cent on oxygen support of the active cases.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also informed that 29.06 lakh Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) and 62.77 lakh N-95 masks have been distributed among the States/UTs/Central Institutions. (ANI)