HYDERABAD: Taking serious view of the approaching swine flu season, the State Health
Department has begun distributing vaccines to people with the highest risk of exposure to the infection, in addition to conducting training sessions for medical professionals and others on how to handle patients diagnosed with swine flu.
Speaking to Express, director of the Institute of Preventive Medicine Dr K Shankar said, “By the end of September, every year, we see an influx of swine flu patients. We have started distributing the swine flu vaccine to people who are most likely to get exposed to the infection, including senior and resident doctors, nurses, ward attendants, and lab technicians. The vaccine is not for the public, and needs to be repeated every year. So, the vaccines are supplied to every government institution that takes in swine flu patients.”
He further said, “We are also supplying personal protection equipment that include the N95 masks, special gowns and protection suits for health professionals, especially at the nodal centre in Gandhi Hospital.”
In terms of building infrastructure for the patients, he said, “While vaccines are a prevention mechanism, we have already supplied hospitals with drugs, antibiotics — both capsules and syrups for children — to the hospitals. However, the aim is ‘prevention first’, therefore, information material to prevent swine flu is also being posted across hospitals as an awareness measure for patients and their kin.
However, Gandhi Hospital which is the nodal centre with a 14-bedded respiratory critical unit is in a sorry state with overflowing dustbins, leaking toilets, water seepage, walls painted with beetul leaf spit, right at the entrance of the RICU. Patients’ attendants crowd near the entrance of the critical care unit, often with their shoes on and no safety precautions.
A resident doctor at the critical care unit told Express, “There have been talks to expand the ward. However, we have not received any confirmation on whether the plan would be put into action this season.”