New Delhi, Nov 10: The health ministry directed all the central government-run hospitals to take measures to deal with the increasing number of patients in the wake of a severe air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda, who reviewed the situation today, also directed the hospitals to stock nebulizers and other related equipment in a good condition and be ready to meet any exigency. The national capital remained in the throes of a pollution emergency.
The thick smog has prompted the city government to declare a return of the odd-even scheme from November 13 (Monday). "J P Nadda directed the officials and heads of all central government hospitals to keep a close watch on the situation," an official statement said.
At a meeting with Nadda, experts said the number of cases being reported with breathing troubles and respiratory diseases was varying every day. The statement said the recent increase in the air pollution levels in Delhi-NCR and the surrounding areas had become "a cause of concern". It added that the health ministry had continuously been monitoring the situation.
The ministry had also issued a health advisory earlier. Additional secretary of the ministry Sanjeev Kumar had held a meeting with the representatives of all the central government hospitals, including Safdarjung Hospital, RML Hospital, LHMC and associated hospitals and AIIMS, New Delhi, yesterday.
According to the health experts, the higher air pollution levels may result in an increase in the burden of diseases -- from stroke, heart ailments, lung cancer and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.
In the short run, the higher air pollution levels might result in an increase in the severity of the symptoms of respiratory diseases, the experts said. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had yesterday recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 486, on a scale of 500, in the national capital. The AQI of neighbouring Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Gurgaon were also in the emergency category till yesterday.