Health Ministry dispatches medicines for Bihar flood victims

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New Delhi, Sep 5 (UNI) The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has dispatched large quantities of medicines and taken preventive measures as part of medical relief for the flood-hit victims in five districts of Eastern Bihar.

With the flood waters receding, however, there was some respite for the state and Central Government in the affected districts following breach of embankments of the Kosi river.

Health Secretary Naresh Dayal briefing the press, said a high-level Central team had already reached the state and was interacting with state government officials.

The Central team is lead by Dr Shiv Lal, special Director- General, Medical Health and Dr Dhillon, Director of the vector-borne programme.

He said the Cabinet Secretary was holding regular meetings with the crisis management groups regarding the flood situation. ''The Bihar Government is well-equipped to handle the situation,'' Mr Dayal added.

Since the flooded areas are endemic to kala azar and Japanese encephalitis outbreaks, the official said the ministry was not taking any chances and had made arrangements for the Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine used so far in China. Besides spraying of DDT and pesticides, rapid diagnostic kits had been sent, 100 foggging machines to stop mosquito breeding on an emergency basis.

On the Bihar government's request for 50 ambulances, the Gujarat government had sent 15, Andhra Pradesh, and Delhi and Assam governments 5 each, Mr Dayal said.

Of the 37 bulk drugs required, 20 have already been diverted to the state. About 300 metric tonnes of medicines were being loaded by rail, he said.

To prevent outbreak of any water-borne and vector-borne diseases, the ministry has dispatched about 6.3 lakh doses of measles vaccines, while there were adequate stocks of oral polio vaccine. In the case of DPT vaccines, two lakh doses had been sent and was expected to reach within 2-3 days. Emergency procurement of disposable syringes had been made and 450 of the 890 cold boxes needed for vaccines, had been diverted from the other states.

The ministry had received feedback that drugs and doctors were available at the primary health centres in the five affected districts, an official said.

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