How is India handling H1N1?

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Aland gives a thumbs up to India for its effective handling of the lethal H1N1 influenza which is now at an escalated Pandemic Level 6. It was not long ago when people here in India were just waiting for the disease to be washed out owing to the level of care the government was taking in handling the victims and awareness it was spreading among its people. All seemed to be ‘OK’ with the number of infected people remained lower compared to that of other countries but when those numbers started increasing the panic among the people kept increasing and every body who sneezed or coughed twice an hour started fearing he had an un-welcomed guest in his body… the H1N1. It was now that the entire system was undergoing a real test of potential.

Swine Flu India
Swine Flu India

There seemed to be confusion among people as to how they could get themselves tested as the government was finding it real difficult to educate and make people aware of the virus and at the same time keep the panic levels lower. I some how feel the government is being too cautious and too stupid at the same time in handling the current situation.

Why keep the private sector out ??

In a country like India where 75% of the medical infrastructure is owned and run by the private sector you can not afford to keep the private sector at bay when handling a virus like the H1N1. Are we talking of handling a ‘pandemic level 6’ disease with just 25% of our medical infrastructure? are we out of our minds or something? Its an act of insanity which the government is doing right now! The system looked obviously overburdened and strained in handling the panic among people at one end and treating the confirmed cases at the other end and when the death toll is continuing to increase the health officials sound absolutely stupid and inefficient lot at answering the rising questions from the general public and the media.

A chill ran down my spine when I heard of a hilarious story of a Delhi family whose daughter returned from the US a week ago. The day after she returned, she complained of throat ache and fever. The parents took her to Delhi’s Ram manohar Lila Hospital for a checkup where they found 10 more people complaining of similar symptoms waiting to be tested. The doctors took all the 11 samples and said they were all potential suspects of being infected by the H1N1 and have to be isolated immediately from the general public. It all sounded organized and sensible till this point but what happened next was what reflected how strained the system was by then in handling the situation. The doctors had actually arranged to put all the 11 suspects in to one single ward with nothing separating them from each other at all! what if there was only one victim and the other 10 were going to be tested negative of the virus? The doctors had no explanation to it at all. It wasn’t that they were unaware of the danger of keeping the 11 suspects together but the system was so stressed out and overburdened that the current government owned infrastructure couldn’t afford one ward each for the eleven suspects. The family was so scared that they risked taking their daughter back home and luckily she was tested negative the next day. What if their daughter had gone for the checkup minus the H1N1 infection and returned with a new guest in her body?

The government should realize its short comings and re-look at the situation and involve the private sector in fighting the H1N1, its only then this disease can be fought to its end else the worst is not over for us and there is lot more panic,confusion, trauma and disaster awaiting the Indian public.

May we all stay safe sound and healthy!

Some statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases in India – 712**

Total Deaths in India – 4**

Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide – 162380

Total Deaths Worldwide – 1154

Last Updated Date and Time – 09/08/2009 13:12 IST

*Source : WHO
**Media Reported