Free Press Journal

Maharashtra to create umbrella authority to tackle epidemics


Mumbai: Concerned over the rising incidence of Swine Flu, the Maharashtra government will enact Maharashtra Medical Emergency Act to set up an umbrella authority to tackle outbreak of epidemics in future. Health Minister Deepak Sawant told the Legislative Assembly during a discussion on the issue through a calling attention notice that the proposed act will help to create a single authority to take steps to prevent and face such emergencies in future.

He said a committee headed by retired director general of health services Subhash Salukhe will be set up to study mutations of the H1N1 virus. Representatives of AIIMS, NIV would be included in the committee. Sawant also said provisions will be made to have sufficient stock of ventilators which will be used only for A grade patients. “In future, while sanctioning proposals for hospitals, it will be made mandatory to set up isolation wards with specific number of beds. Similarly, steps will be taken to include Swine Flu in the list of illnesses treated under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi scheme, Sawant said and added personal hygiene and etiquettes are collective responsibility. He urged legislators to undertake awareness programmes in their respective constituencies.

Sawant also rejected claims that swine flu was a 5th generation virus and homeopathy treatment was also possible. “It is H1N1 virus which was first detected in Pune in 2010,” he said. Since January this year, 293 persons have succumbed to the illness, the legislative assembly was told. NCP legislator Ajit Pawar lashed out at the government for failure to tackle the outbreak and demanded resignation of the minister. To this Sawant said he would put in his papers if it would stop deaths due to the epidemic.

The Opposition members accused the government of not being serious for tackling the epidemic and adequate precautions and medicines were not being procured. “Swine Flu is a contagious disease which activates during rains and winter,” he said.