Heatwave in India: Health Ministry tells states to disseminate guidelines of 'National Action Plan on Heat-Related Illnesses' to all districts

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, May 01, 2022, 07:39 PM IST
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Women use a cloth to filter drinking water after collecting it from a well, at Padal village in Samba district, Sunday, May 1, 2022. India is facing a brutal spell of heatwave, which has led to water shortages in many parts of the country | PTI

Owing to the rising temperature and heatwave across the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Monday wrote to all states/ UTs requesting to "disseminate the guideline document 'National Action Plan on Heat-Related Illnesses' to all districts for effective management."

Rajesh Bhushan highlighted that health facilities need to increase resilience to extreme heat by arranging uninterrupted electricity for constant functioning of cooling appliances, installation of solar panels (wherever feasible), measures to reduce indoor heat through cool/green roof (NDMA guidelines may be referred), window shades, shade outside, etc. R

Additionally, Rain Water Harvesting and Recycling Plants may also be explored for self sufficiency in water.

The health ministry had released an advisory to states recently asking them to step up facilities and services for people landing up in hospitals due to extreme heat conditions.

Guidelines have been sent to the states as part of the routine exercise carried out every year ahead of summer to minimise cases of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

These guidelines are in addition to the National Action Plan on Heat Related Illness, prepared under the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health, which was released by the ministry last July.v

Heat guidelines for states:

Officials in the ministry’s public health division said the detailed set of guidelines had been sent to the states almost two weeks ago.

“These guidelines included preventive and curative measures required for heat-related illnesses and we expect the states to follow them,” said a senior official. “However, it’s not possible for us to centrally monitor what each state is doing.”

The states have been instructed to equip primary and community health centres, district hospitals and medical colleges with dedicated beds for patients with heat-related illnesses and to stock up on specified medicines and medical devices to treat and manage them.

“There are also preventive suggestions given in the guidelines such as ensuring access to clean drinking water, suggesting that people avoid outdoor activities during the hottest hours, issuing alerts for extreme heatwaves, and making extra preparations to care for kids and the elderly.

Rajesh Bhushan in the advisory letter to the states reiterated to implement the guidelines.

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