In view of the approaching season of respiratory illnesses, Health and Family Welfare Minister Punjab Dr Balbir Singh on Friday took stock of the situation in the state and listed out steps for its prevention and control. He directed the State health department to issue a detailed advisory to prevent and control further spread of influenza like illnesses (ILI).
He also instructed all the Civil Surgeons to set-up flu corners in Outpatient Department (OPD) of each hospital, besides, directing them to ensure deployment of trained paramedical staff in these corners and treatment of all patients with ILI as per their categorisation based on the severity of the symptoms. All Hospitals have also been directed to set up isolation wards with adequate logistics and oxygen supply. The Minister also stressed upon the need to create awareness regarding respiratory etiquettes for people with ILI to contain the spread of this highly infectious disease.
Dr Balbir Singh informed that Influenza A H1N1/H3N2 is a notified disease under Epidemic Diseases Act in Punjab and notification has already been issued in this regard. He also instructed that this notification should be circulated to all the Government and Private hospitals in the state to report all suspected and confirmed cases. “It should be ensured that all ILI patients reporting in the medical institutions are categorised and if they are COVID negative and having symptoms then Swine Flu (H1N1) should be kept as one of the differential diagnosis and necessary testing should be done,” he added.
Reassuring the commitment of Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann to ensure world-class health facilities to the people of the state, the Minister assured that a sufficient stock of medicines is available with the department and is fully geared to tackle any untoward situation.
Dr Balbir Singh exhorted people to stay protected against seasonal diseases by exercising precautions. Patients of ILI, health staff dealing with ILI patients, people or relatives coming in contact with such patients, immuno-compromised persons, children, elderly and pregnant ladies should wear masks, wash their hands regularly with soap and stay away from crowded places. People having symptoms of ILI should contact the nearest medical establishment.