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Continuous efforts necessary to generate awareness for better heatwave management, says Mandaviya

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New Delhi, Apr 3 (PTI) Continuous efforts towards generating awareness is necessary for better management of heat waves, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday and added effective addressing leads to effective management.

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Mandaviya, who chaired a meeting to review public health preparedness for the management of heat-related illnesses, highlighted the importance of timely action as soon as India Meteorological Department (IMD) alerts are received in the states.

"Timely, advance and wide awareness among the people on the preventive measures will hugely support in reducing the severe impact of such heat waves," he said.

Highlighting the lack of accurate data from the ground, Mandaviya noted the importance of creating a central database with inputs from states to share field-level information on heat waves, including deaths and cases, so that a realistic assessment of the situation can be made.

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He also advised senior officials to meet with states for better coordination and understanding, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts in the efficient management of heat-related illnesses.

Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar stressed on the formation of state- and district-level committees for information and awareness campaigns.

She also highlighted the importance of equipping Ayushman Arogya Mandirs with water coolers, ice packs and other basic necessities.

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She emphasised the need for states to accelerate field-level implementation of state action plans for addressing the effects of heat waves.

A granular status and analysis of overall heatstroke forecasting, pattern, climatology and vulnerable zones in India and areas most prone to increased heat waves was made by IMD officials, covering the trajectory of rainfall patterns, humidity and forecast of transition from El Nino to El Nino-Southern Oscillation.

It was pointed out that heat action plans have been updated in 23 states while around 100 districts have campaigns on heatwave awareness generation.

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An advisory was issued on February 29 by the Union health secretary to all chief secretaries, requesting compliance of states with the national action plan on heat-related illnesses for effective preparedness of facilities to address heat impact and management of cases.

The states were also advised to review health facility preparedness in terms of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, ice-packs, ORS and drinking water for the public.

It was also informed that the National Centre for Disease Control has issued the dos and don'ts to be followed by the general public as well as vulnerable people during the summer months. PTI PLB SZM

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