Heat Wave and Heat Related Illnesses with 7 affected States Reviewed

  • Dr Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed Public Health Preparedness to the ongoing Heat Wave and Heat Related Illnesses with 7 affected States
  • Effective disaster response and management is a collaborative work; With coordinated actions, we can surely ensure there are no deaths due to heat waves: Dr Mandaviya
  • States advised to comply with the National Action Plan on Heat-Related Illnesses, ensure preparedness of healthcare facilities, availability of essential medicines and logistics; and enhance awareness among people

“Effective disaster response and management is a collaborative work. With coordinated actions between Centre and states, we can surely ensure there are no deaths due to heat waves”. This was stated by Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today as he chaired a meeting to review public health preparedness for management of heat related illness and virtually interacted with State Health Ministers, State Disaster Management Ministers and Principal Secretaries/ Additional Chief Secretaries and Information Commissioners of seven States (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana) which are experiencing severe heat wave conditions. Nityanand Rai, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs was present at the meeting, while Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Prof. S P Baghel, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog were present in the virtual mode.  

State Ministers who joined the high level review meeting included Shahnawaz, Disaster Management Minister (Bihar), Banna Gupta, Health & Disaster Management Minister (Jharkhand), Pramila Mallik, Revenue & Disaster Management Minister (Orissa), Harish Rao, Health Minister (Telangana), Anup Valmiki, Disaster Management Minister (Uttar Pradesh) and Mayaneshwar Singh, Minister of State for Health (Uttar Pradesh). The State Health and Disaster Management Ministers thanked the Union Health Minister for the timely review meting and his continuous support to the states.

Dr. Mandaviya said that “India has demonstrated during the recent preparedness measures for Cyclone Biparjoy that timely and effective coordination between Centre and States can produce the desired outcome”. “Sharing of ideas, expertise and best practices by states help in enriching everyone in effectively managing heat-related illness”, he added. He urged the states to implement the State Action Plans at the ground levels with a timely warning to the people, & ensure preventive preparedness to reduce the severe impact of heatwaves.  The Union Health Minister also advised the States that have not yet prepared the Health Action Plan, based on the National Action Plan, to do so urgently detailing specific field level actions and ensure effective implementation of the same.

Dr Mandaviya stated heat alert and forecasts from IMD is amplified and shared with all states daily by the Union Health Ministry. He urged states to develop training manuals on Heat and Health for State Officials, Medical Officers and Health Workers. “State-level trainers need to ensure that their training is up to field level. Capacity Building of Medical Officers, Health Staff & sensitization of grassroots level workers on heat illness, with focus on early recognition and management using training manuals provided by Union Health Ministry is crucial”, he stated. States were advised to increase resiliency to extreme heat at Health Facilities level by ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply; installation of solar panels and adopting measures to reduce indoor heat through installation of cool/green roof, window shading, shades etc.

Highlighting the lack of accurate date from the ground, Nityanand Rai urged states to share field level data on heatwaves, including on deaths and cases, so that a realistic assessment of the situation can be made. He also highlighted the importance of timely action as soon as 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 pointed out.

Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, MOS (HFW)  urged states to ramp up information and awareness campaigns among people. She urged states to accelerate field level implementation of State Action Plans for addressing ill effects of heat waves.

Prof S P Baghel, MOS (HFW) also emphasized on sharing of regular advisories by states on the heatwave situation.

A granular status and analysis of overall heatstroke cases and deaths in India and heat-related illness in the seven affected States was made by the Health Ministry officials covering the trajectory of total emergency OPD, suspected and confirmed heatstroke cases and deaths; and their reporting as per Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) portal. It was pointed out that the National Action Plan on Heat Related Illness, released in July 2021 outlined the challenges posed by heat wave, heat-related illnesses and their management from primary to tertiary level; the SOPs for surveillance of heat stroke cases and deaths; and preparedness plan before & during summer season, with special emphasis on Heat Related Illness (HRI) in vulnerable sections.

States were also reminded of two advisories issued by the Union Health Ministry. The first was issued on 28th Feb, 2023 by the Union Health Secretary to all the Chief Secretaries requesting compliance of states of National Action Plan on Heat Related Illnesses for effective preparedness of health facilities to address heat impact and management of cases. States were also advised to review health facility preparedness in terms of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, Ice-packs, ORS, drinking water as well as IEC activity for public. The second advisory was issued by the Union Health Ministry in the form of a wider awareness of do’s and don’ts to be followed by the general population as well as the vulnerable people. It advised states to use this as a template and translate to regional languages and follow the NPCCHH advisory for employers for workplace preparedness guidance.
Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Sudhansh Pant, Officer on Special Duty (Health Ministry), Dr. Rajiv Bahl, DG, ICMR, Lav Agarwal, AS (Health Ministry), Dr. Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services, Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, DG, IMD, Dr M Srinivas, Director, AIIMS New Delhi and senior officials of the Health Ministry were present in the meeting.