Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday ordered constitution of a committee headed by Director SK Institute of Medical Sciences here to “chalk out” programmes to control swine flu in Kashmir Valley.
“Director SKIMS in coordination with Director Health Services Kashmir and Principal, Government Medical College will hold weekly meetings and chalk out further programs so as to ensure that the H1N1 influenza gets controlled and does not affect the people any further,” a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey said.
The panel, court said, will also work out the requirements and report to the Government about the measures required to be taken for “effectively dealing with H1N1 influenza.”
“On the receipt of the report of the Committee, the state and (government of India) shall initiate necessary measures and take steps for implementing the recommendations.”
The court also directed the committee to take necessary steps in conducting public awareness programs about the disease and protective measures to be adopted by the people.
“Till the Government nominates an authority, the Head of the Committee (Director SKIMS) shall henceforth be responsible to brief the Press about the measures taken for effective control of H1N1 influenza,” the court said and asked the authority to inform the general public through Print and Electronic Media about the protective measures to be taken.
“The Director Information shall render all assistance to the Director, SKIMS in this behalf.”
At least a dozen people have died and nearly three hundred others have tested positive for the deadly virus in past few weeks in the Valley alone.
“The Committee shall also report to Government about the measures to be taken in respect of protecting school going children from the H1N1 influenza,” the court said and directed the State Government to take immediate steps for implementing the recommendation by the panel.
The Commissioner Secretary Medical Education Department, court said, shall file compliance report before next date of hearing on March 17 about the implementation of recommendations made by the Committee.
The directions by the bench followed perusal of a response filed by director SKIMS and director health service Kashmir to the pleadings of the PIL.
In his report, the Director SKIMS, Soura stated that few sporadic cases of swine flu were seen in October last, most of whom were Haj pilgrims who had returned after performing the annual pilgrimage. All those persons have recovered, he added.
He also stated that the first confirmed case at SKIMS Influenza Lab was diagnosed on January 27 and the number of patients suspected of H1N1 influenza increased after February 5.
“Immediately, 32 bedded Isolation Ward was created and 5 Senior Residents, 12 PG Residents and 19 Paramedics including Nurses were put on duty.”
Consultants from Pulmonary Medicine and Infectious Disease, he said, were also requested to assist Dr. Parvaiz A Koul, who is heading the unit.
A separate 6-bedded intensive Care Unit with all Ventilator and Monitoring facilities has been created exclusively for swine flu patients suffering from respiratory failure, shock, adult respiratory distress symptoms or multi-organ failure. “This Intensive Care Unit is on the back side of the Hospital with separate entry.”
The Chest Medicine OPD, he said, has been established outside the main premises of SKIMS across the Ali Jan Road in “Saria” where all the facilities including blood collection X-Ray Chest, throat swabs for H1N1 influenza are done.
The drugs for swine flu are provided to patients in the OPD while steps have been taken to avoid mixing of patients suffering from N1H1 influenza with main OPD at SKIMS.
“All these steps have reduced the spread of the disease within the Hospital. The OPD (H1N1 influenza) is functional on all the days including Sundays. A Senior Resident Dr. Rehana from Hospital Administration has been made incharge of the OPD.”
He also informed that the facility for testing the virus has been existing in SKIMS since December 2011 and has capacity of doing around 8-10 tests per week.
“In view of shortage of space, the lab has been shifted to another building in the interest of patient care and now 30 samples are being processed daily.”
The Director Health Services Kashmir submitted stated that 55,400 Oseltamavir (Capsules) were procured and distributed to the Chief Medical Officer and Medical Superintends of all the Districts and Sub District Hospitals for treatment of Influenza A H1N1 positive patients and their contacts.
He also stated that personal protective equipments and Viral Transport Media (VTM), Triple Layer masks, N 95 masks and hand sanitizers have been provided to all District Headquarters for management of the disease.
Senior additional advocate general J.A Kawoosa also produced communication of Principal Dean, Government Medical College, addressed to Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education Department to indicate that steps for dealing with the problem of the swine flu Influenza.
The communication also revealed that the Government has released Rs.5.63 Crores for the establishment of one more Lab at Chest Disease Hospital here.
Meanwhile, Assistant Solicitor General of India representing Union Health Ministry was granted week’s time by court to file response.