Centre asks States to review healthcare readiness
    Date :27-Nov-2023

THE Union Health Ministry has advised States to immediately review public health preparedness in view of recent reports indicating  a surge in respiratory illness in children in northern China. In a statement on Sunday,the ministry said it has decided to proactively review preparatorymeasures against respiratory illnessesasa matter of abundant caution. “This is noted to be important in view of the ongoing influenza and winter season that results in an increase in respiratory illness cases.
The Government of India is closely monitoring the situation and indicated thatthere is no need for any alarm,” it said. In a letter to all States and Union Territories, the Union Health Secretary has advised them to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness such as availability ofbeds, drugs and vaccines for influenza, medical oxygen, antibiotics, personal protective equipment,testing kits and reagents, functionality of oxygen plants and ventilators, and infection control practices.
The State authorities have beenadvisedtoimplementthe Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19’, shared earlier this year, which provides for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI).
They have also been asked to ensure that the trends of ILI and SARI, particularly among children and adolescents, are closely monitored by the district and state surveillanceunits of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP). The data of ILI/SARI is required to be uploaded on the IDSP-IHIP portal. The state authorities have been asked to send nasal and throatswabsamplesofpatients withSARI,particularlychildren and adolescents, to the Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories fortesting for respiratory pathogens. The cumulative effect of implementation of these precautionary and proactive collaborative measures is expected to counter any potential situation and ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens. Recently,information shared by the WHO has indicated anincrease in respiratory illness in northern parts of China.This is predominantly attributed to usual causes such as influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniaand SARS-CoV-2.
According to the WHO, therelease of COVID-19 restrictionscoinciding with the on set of winter season in addition to cyclical trend of respiratory illnesses such as mycoplasmapneumonia have led to thissurge. While the WHO has sought additional information from the Chinese authorities, it isassessed thatthere is no causefor any alarm at the moment, the ministry said.