In a high-powered meeting with senior officers of the Health Ministry, Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) reviewed the state of preparedness and action taken to deal with H1N1 influenza cases. Additional Secretary (Health) Sanjeeva Kumar, DCGI Dr S Reddy, Directors and Senior Officials from NCDC and representatives from EMR were also present in the meeting. Seasonal influenza is a respiratory viral infection with seasonal occurrences every year. In 2019 (till date 03.02.2019), total 6701 cases and 226 deaths have been reported in country. Majority of cases have been reported from 11 states (and majority of deaths have been reported from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab. Deaths have been in seen more in persons having co morbidities like diabetes, hypertension etc. MOHFW deputed a Public Health Team to Rajasthan to assess the situation and assist the States in strengthening response to the increase in cases. Secretary has directed additional teams to Gujarat and Punjab to assist the states in outbreak response.
Regular review is being done on daily basis at the highest level and preparedness and response measures. These have been at the level of HFM, Secretary (Health), DGHS, AS (Health) JS (Public Health) and Director NCDC and in 2018-2019. Regular video conferences are being held to monitor the situation. States have been advised to involve district collectors in enhancing public awareness and outbreak response. Advisory for preparedness to seasonal influenza A (H1N1) was issued from DGHS, JS (Public Health), and Director NCDC in 2018-2019. Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) and its State units have enhanced the surveillance for Influenza like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI). IDSP assisted lab network of 12 Laboratories are providing laboratory support in terms of testing, quality assurance, guidance, providing viral transport mediums and diagnostic reagents. The laboratory network of ICMR (41 labs) has also been activated to test for H1N1 cases and beyond above laboratories support from MoHFW, States also have their identified State Government and Private laboratories for testing clinical samples of seasonal influenza A (H1N1). In addition, NCDC is providing diagnostic kits and Viral Transport Medium kits to States as per identified need to be used in laboratories/ hospitals identified by the State Governments.
The States have been asked to follow the MoHFW guidelines (Risk Categorization, Clinical management Protocol, Use of masks for healthcare workers, Guidelines for vaccination with influenza vaccine and Providing Home care) of seasonal influenza A (H1N) available at NCDC website. Oseltamivir is the drug recommended by WHO. The drug is made available through the Public Health System free of cost. Oseltamivir was also made available under Schedule H1 by Govt. of India so that the drugs are readily available to the needed. Drug controller general of India has been asked to coordinate with drug manufacturers and monitor the drug availability in various states. All the States have been advised to complete the procurement of required logistics for managing seasonal influenza A (H1N1) from State budget. However, during crisis in States, Govt. of India is supplying logistics (drugs, PPE kits, N-95 face masks). Currently in 2019, Govt. of India has been supplied the logistics to Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu (J&K), Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, and Punjab. MOHFW has recommended vaccination for healthcare workers and other priority groups. The guidelines for influenza vaccination have been shared with all States. The details of manufactures of vaccine (as per recommendation of Govt. of India) provided from DCGI, has been shared with all States. Communication material for preventive measures has also been shared with all the States. – PIB