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Azad talks to CMs on steps to tackle H1N1 pandemic

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today talked to the Chief Ministers of all the States about the preparedness of the state governments to tackle the influenza (H1N1) pandemic that has so far claimed eight lives in the country.

While appreciating the efforts being made in this regard by the state governments, Mr Azad emphasised the need for stepping up the preparedness.

He told the Chief Ministers that Central teams, comprising senior officials, would be visiting all the state capitals as part of the effort to help the states in capacity building. He urged the Chief Ministers to chair the first meeting of these teams so that on-the-spot decisions were taken for swift implementation.

An official statement said the Central teams, led by officers of the level of Additional Secretaries and Joint Secretaries from different ministers, would discuss with the state governments the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with regard to capacity-building issues such as identification of laboratories for testing and hospitals in public and private sectors for screening, diagnosis and treatment of H1N1 cases.

The plan is to involve Central, state, local government institutions, medical colleges and private set-ups in this integrated strategy.

The teams will also discuss the issue of training of doctors and paramedical personnel at various levels. The training is proposed to be imparted utilising current expertise and infrastructure of the ministry, the National Disaster Management Authority and state governments. The teams will also emphasise the importance of awareness campaigns.

The statement said the purpose of the exercise was to accelerate efforts to create a dedicated functional apparatus within the current government and private infrastructure to deal with the emerging pandemic.

Mr Azad briefed the teams personally today and emphasised the importance of conveying the need for preparedness and the importance of integrated approach towards the problem. He told the teams to complete their visits before August 15.

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