Minister’s reply tantamount to ‘misleading’ the house

Jammu/ Srinagar: While announcing that the Government is tacking adequate measures to deal with swine flu, Minister for Health and Medical Education Bali Baghat Monday informed the state assembly that every effort is being made by the Government to provide requisite facilities to deal with the swine flu.

However, what can be termed as ‘misleading’ is the Minister’s claim that media is being used to create awareness and issue advisories with regard to the Swine Flu.

Pertinently, SKIMS is currently not issuing any advisories for the general masses, with the daily updates on the status of Swine Flu been stopped some two month ago.

“Services of Electronic/Print media are used to issue advisory and create awareness among the general public about the disease,” the Minister said.

Earlier, after the pressure from media, the then Director SKIMS, Dr A G Ahanger had called for a press briefing and the daily updates on the disease were also started, however, with further deaths reported from the hospital, the updates were stopped, and same continues to date, “in such a situation, the statement of the minister can be termed as misleading,” a doctor said.

The Minister, while speaking on the floor of the house, further said that 28 deaths have been reported so far in SKIMS Soura, while a total 137 cases were registered in the institute out of which 107 were discharged and two patients are still admitted and being treated at the hospital.

The details of the two patients who are currently admitted at SKIMS, were given three weeks ago, when two more deaths were reported from the hospital, however, since then, there has not been any new update issued.

Pertinent to mention, the deaths that were reported due to Swine Flu, the general public was not informed by the hospital authorities, and only came to the fore through the local media.

Experts are saying that the no matter what is the status of the swine flu, the hospital authorities should come up with regular health updates on the status of the disease, and the precautionary measures that are need to be taken.

“They have been playing tricks, starting the updates for some days and then stopping them again,” said a doctor, adding “in this way questions pop up into the minds, that whether the hospital is actually trying to hide something.”

The Minister was responding to a Calling Attention Notice by MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar, the Minister said that a full-fledged H1N1 testing laboratory “along with separate ward has been constructed at the cost of Rs 9.88 crores at Chest Diseases Hospital Srinagar which has been made functional.”

He said besides, Swine Flu testing lab in the department of Microbiology in GMC Jammu has also been dedicated for H1N1 testing. He said testing facility is also available at Microbiology Department of Govt Medical College Srinagar since 2016.

“As a preventive measure, isolation wards have been established in the Government Medical College, Jammu and Srinagar and have been equipped with central oxygen, air suction supply and ventilator,” he said.

Separate trained staff is also deployed round the clock and that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are provided to all the healthcare workers who are at the risk of exposure, he added.


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