Amid prevailing heatwave, Center asks states to strengthen preparedness for Heat-Related Illnesses 

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With many parts of the country in the grip of a heatwave, the Centre has asked states and Union territories to conduct follow-up reviews to ensure dedicated heat stroke rooms at all health facilities besides implementing critical fire and electricals safety measures. 

Dr Atul Goel, Directorate General of Health Services, Union health ministry on Thursday conducted a virtual review meeting with states and UTs to assess the preparedness for heatwave conditions and fire safety measures adopted by various healthcare facilities across the country.

State Health departments have been issued advisories and asked to implement guidelines on strengthening health systems preparedness for Heat-Related Illnesses (HRI) besides issuing a public health advisory with do’s and don’ts.

They have been urged to follow the guidelines on emergency cooling for severe heat-related illnesses and autopsy findings in heat related deaths.

State health departments have been asked to adhere to the joint communication from Secretary (Health), MoHFW and NDMA and a communication from Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on health facility fire safety measures and checklist for assessment of health facility and ambulance preparedness to prevent and manage impact of heat.

The health ministry has earlier in March asked states to take proactive measures to prevent devastating incidents caused by extreme heat. This was followed by another letter on May 29 for taking all preventive measures in respect to fire safety.

The measures to be undertaken by states and UTs, include implementation of Heat Health Action Plan, dissemination of early warning of heat waves issued by IMD, sensitisation and capacity building of health care staff on HRI symptoms, case identification, clinical management and surveillance.

The ministry also stressed on conducting regular preventive fire risk assessment drills to identify potentially vulnerable areas and implementing appropriate fire prevention measures, such as proper storage of flammable materials and regular and optimal preventive maintenance of electrical circuits and systems and establishing an emergency response plan with SOPs for evacuating patients, staff, and visitors in the event of a fire.