TAWQEER HUSSAIN | 24 FEBRUARY, 2015
Swine Flu Scare, Shortage of Drugs in J&K
Swine flu is rapidly spreading in the Valley
NEW DELHI: Six deaths and 140 tested positive with the H1N1 virus in the Kashmir Valley has created virtual panic compounded by the shortage of the drugs required for effective treatment.
According to the top health officials in the Valleys leading hospital, the acute shortage of drugs is proving to be a major problem in controlling the disease.
"There are no immunization vaccines for H1N1 virus available anywhere in the Valley," Director Health, Kashmir, Saleem-ur-Rehman informed the media in Srinagar.
Rehman said that the department was trying to procure the vaccines but "they had dried up".
"We had asked the suppliers for the vaccines, but it seems they have dried up. We are now trying to procure them from the open market and are hopeful to get them soon," he said.
However, he also added that mass immunization was not absolutely necessary and only doctors and the staff should be given the vaccine.
"Mass immunization is not recommended and only those health workers, who are dealing with the patients, are required to be immunized," the director Health added.
Meanwhile, according to the eyewitnesses, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), which is the only testing and treatment centre in the Valley, is swarmed with panicky people looking for tests and treatment.
"You are talking about medicines, it took the hospital seven days to issue masks to us, despite being directly involved in patient handling" said an employee at SKIMS, Srinagar.
He added that most of the employees bought masks from open market to keep themselves safe.
Meanwhile, a doctors body in Kashmir is going to file a Public Interest Litigation in Kashmir High Court against the health officials in Srinagar.
The Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) alleged that health officials should be booked for criminal negligence as they "abdicated their moral and legal duty of protecting human lives"
"Centre for disease control and prevention's influenza division had warned state that this season's flu could be most severe and health officials in valley slept over it" said Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan, President DAK.
He further added "health officials concealed H1N1 positive cases and did not disseminate information to public which resulted in spread of disease".