Health Minister directs special heatwave units in all central govt hospitals amid killer heatwave

Nadda directed officials to ensure that all hospitals are prepared for providing the best care to those affected.
 Patients being admitted due to heat stroke and exhaustion at LNJP hospital, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Due to prevailing heatwave conditions, hospitals in Delhi-NCR are seeing an influx of patients with complaints of heat stroke and exhaustion.
Patients being admitted due to heat stroke and exhaustion at LNJP hospital, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Due to prevailing heatwave conditions, hospitals in Delhi-NCR are seeing an influx of patients with complaints of heat stroke and exhaustion. PTI

NEW DELHI: Amid scalding temperatures in large parts of the country, Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Wednesday reviewed the heatwave situation and preparedness of central government hospitals.

Nadda directed officials to ensure that all hospitals are prepared for providing the best care to those affected.

He also ordered that special heatwave units be started in the central government-run hospitals.

 Patients being admitted due to heat stroke and exhaustion at LNJP hospital, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Due to prevailing heatwave conditions, hospitals in Delhi-NCR are seeing an influx of patients with complaints of heat stroke and exhaustion.
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Earlier this month, the Union health ministry urged states and Union Territories to conduct follow-up reviews for ensuring dedicated heatstroke rooms, ORS corners and strengthening surveillance, besides implementing critical fire and electrical safety measures at all healthcare facilities.

They were asked to assess the preparedness for heatwave conditions and the fire and electrical safety measures adopted by the healthcare facilities.

Hospitals in Delhi-NCR are experiencing a surge in heat stroke and heat exhaustion cases as temperatures soar. The Centre has instructed hospitals to prioritize admitting heat stroke patients.

The Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi has reported five deaths due to suspected heatstroke while at least 12 people, mostly daily wage labourers are in critical condition battling for their lives on ventilator support.

According to Dr Ajay Shukla, Medical Superintendent of RML Hospital, 11 people were admitted to the hospital on Tuesday with heat stroke, the highest reported in a single day this season. He said that since the beginning of the heatwave about a month or so ago at least 45 people have been admitted with heat-related ailments till date.

"A total of 22 patients have been admitted to the hospital and five have lost their lives due to suspected heatstroke. 12 patients are on ventilators and in critical situation. The majority of patients are labourers who work in extreme conditions," the hospital official said.

He also added that the main reason for the deaths was a delay in reaching the hospital. "So far we have received a total of 45-50 patients and around 7 people have died since the beginning of the heatwave situation," he said.

"Most of the patients are poor migrant labourers. They do a lot of physical work so they are very prone to heatstroke. Most of the patients die because they are late in reaching the hospital. The mortality rate in this is 60-70 per cent. If treatment is delayed, the number of deaths can be quite high," he added

Earlier, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed that there have been at least 56 deaths from heatstroke in multiple states.

In May alone, 46 people have died due to heatstroke. However, suspected heatstroke cases in May were 1,918.

According to data shared by states, over 7 lakh people were admitted to emergency departments of primary care hospitals.

Suresh Kumar, Medical Director of LNJP Hospital said to ANI, "Currently, 9 patients are admitted in LNJP hospital. Out of the 9 patients, 4 patients are on ventilator support due to their critical condition and multi-organ failure due to heatstroke. On 16th June, a patient died due to heatstroke. Timely treatment of heatstroke patients is very important else it can also lead to multi-organ failure. To prevent heatstroke, an umbrella or cloth covering on head should be used. Children and the elderly should avoid venturing outdoors in extreme heat conditions. Consumption of 4-5 litres of water a day can prevent heatstroke. Our nurses and staff are trained to identify heatstroke patients."

Monsoon expected to hit Delhi-NCR around June 30, says IMD

As the national capital and its surrounding regions continue to face severe hot weather conditions, the India Meteorological Department on Wednesday said that the Monsoon is expected to hit Delhi-NCR around June 30.

IMD added that dust storms and light-intensity rainfall activity are expected on Wednesday in Delhi.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for West Uttar Pradesh for the next 2 days and a red alert for Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday for severe heatwave conditions.

IMD scientist Dr Naresh Kumar told ANI, "We had issued a red alert for Punjab, Haryana, Delhi NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar yesterday, but today conditions have improved. There has been rainfall activity in Bihar. For Punjab, Haryana and Delhi-NCR, we have issued an orange alert but for West Uttar Pradesh we have issued a red alert for the next 2 days, there is a red alert for Uttar Pradesh as well today. In Delhi-NCR, the temperature is expected to be around 40 degrees Celcius. Monsoon is expected to hit Delhi-NCR around June 30. Even today, we can expect dust storms and light-intensity rainfall activity in Delhi," IMD scientist Kumar told ANI.

The IMD has forecast that heatwave conditions will continue across many parts of northern India.

"Heatwave to severe heat wave conditions are very likely in many/most parts of Uttar Pradesh on the 18th & 19th; in some parts on the 20th over Punjab," it said.

As per the IMD, East India will witness a decrease in the temperature by 2-3 degrees Celsius during the next three days.

"Hot & Humid weather is very likely over Odisha during 18th-20th; Gangetic West Bengal on the 18th and Bihar on the 20th June 2024," IMD added.

The extreme heatwave continues to push Delhi's power demand. According to the State Load Dispatch Centre data, at 3:22 PM on Tuesday, Delhi's peak power demand clocked 8,647 MW. It is the highest ever in the history of the national capital.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

 Patients being admitted due to heat stroke and exhaustion at LNJP hospital, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Due to prevailing heatwave conditions, hospitals in Delhi-NCR are seeing an influx of patients with complaints of heat stroke and exhaustion.
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