February is considered to be the transition month between the winter and the summer. However, that was not the case this year as India marked the hottest February it has ever witnessed in recorded history.
The Government has issued the guidance document "National Action Plan on Heat-Related Illnesses." It has been ordered to disseminate this document to every district of every state.
Adhering to the document would help in the effective preparedness of the health department and health facilities to address heat impact and management of cases arising due to heat.
The government also announced that daily surveillance of heat-related illnesses will be carried out in states and districts on the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP). The surveillance will be conducted under the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health (NPCCHH).
Daily heat alerts and forecasts of heat waves will be issued at the District and Health Facility level. Health departments of the states should continue to put efforts into training and capacity building of medical officers, health staff, and grass-root level workers on heat illnesses, early diagnosis, and treatment.
Health facilities like the availability of essential medicines, IV fluids, ice packs, ORS sachets, etc, must be available in adequate quantities. There should also be sufficient drinking water at all health facilities with the continued functioning of cooling appliances.
India reported the warmest February this year since 1877, with average maximum temperatures touching 29.54 degrees Celsius. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that most parts of the country are expected to experience above-normal temperatures.
(Input fro various media sources)