October 14, 2008

Free Treatment of Dengue Patients

By Anand Bodh

Mohali: It seems that the government woke up only after a relative of a minister was down with dengue. A day after health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla's relative in Mohali was admitted to PGI, Chandigarh, as a suspected dengue case, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday announced free treatment for all such patients in government hospitals and dispensaries.

He also directed chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh to ask the health and medical services to gear up for any eventuality due to dengue outbreak in the state.

This came on a day when the health authorities reported 860 confirmed cases of dengue and 293 suspected cases from all over Punjab.

According to sources, Akshay Chawla, son of minister's nephew Sunil Chawla of Sector 70, Mohali, was first admitted to a private hospital in the city with high fever two days back. On Friday, Akshay, a student of plus II, was referred to the PGI as a suspected case of dengue. A senior health official said Akshay was found having low blood platelet count. "Within a day, his platelet count dropped from 70 to 45," he revealed.

Akshay's condition is reported to be stable now. But while PGI sources confirmed that he was suffering from dengue, Mala, sister of the health minister, denied the same by saying that, "He was admitted for some other problem , not dengue."

A grim and angry health minister reportedly held an emergency meeting of officials of local government, water and sanitation and health department to review the situation and directed them to take remedial measures to check the spread of the disease.

Badal, who came to know about the development in Ludhiana during his sangat darshan , called up chief secretary and directed him to issue instructions in this regard.

Ludhiana leads with 690 cases

The number of dengur patients is the highest in Ludhiana, where 690 confirmed and 213 suspected were reported, followed by Mohali with 112 confirmed cases. Patiala has 17 confirmed and 25 suspected, while Amritsar and Bathinda have eight confirmed. Jalandhar has six confirmed and 17 suspected cases. Senior IAS officers and health officials have been given responsibility of the five municipal corporations. Meanwhile, sharp increase in the number of dengue cases were reported in Gurdaspur with at least four new patients admitted to civil hospital. Senior doctors of the hospital said on Saturday that at least four dengue patients have been admitted to the trauma ward and their condition was critical, but out of danger. Dr Lakhanpal, a senior doctor of the hospital, said their platelet count had initially gone down, but now, their condition was improving, as they were responding well to the treatment.

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