NEW DELHI: In an attempt to provide relief to flood-hit Kerala and preempt outbreak of diseases in the aftermath of flood, the Union health ministry has initiated a series of measures including setting up of medical camps, sending life-saving medicines and medical teams to the state.
While Kerala is likely to face outbreak of several diseases after water recedes, the healthcare infrastructure and services of the state are in shambles after the flood. Outbreaks of various diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and leptospirosis along with increased incidence of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria are common after the water starts receding in flood-hit areas.
The state health department has written to the Centre seeking assistance for medicines and to deal with outbreak of water-borne diseases once the rains subside.
The health ministry is sending 90 types of medicines including antibiotics and medicines for fever, cold, cough, diarrhea, hypertension along with those to treat vector borne and water-borne diseases. Besides, drugs like chlorine to make water potable or safe for drinking are also being sent by the Centre. The first tranche of medicines will reach Kerala by Monday morning, health ministry said.
The health ministry is also coordinating with other states to augment medicine supplies.
As many as 3757 medical relief camps have been set up to provide immediate medical aid to people rescued from the flood as well as to tackle disease outbreaks. The health ministry is also planning to send separate quick response teams to Kerala to provide emergency medical care.
“The health ministry is extending all support for the flood relief measures in Kerala. We are monitoring the flood situation in Kerala on a regular basis. Secretary (Health) is in regular communication with the state health functionaries and monitoring the situation daily through the disease surveillance network,” health minister JP Nadda said.
“In consultation with state government, we will deploy teams for rapid health assessment and for taking appropriate measures to prevent and control outbreak of epidemic prone diseases. We will also send quick response medical teams to deal with the additional burden of disease in the aftermath of the floods,” a health ministry official said.
The Centre has also issued specific advisories to Kerala on infectious disease prevention and control safe drinking water, hygiene measures, vector control etc. The state government has also been advised to switch to daily surveillance and monitoring for detecting early warning signs of an outbreak.
Health ministry maintained no communicable diseases have been reported from the state so far.