New Delhi: The central government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it has been assisting state governments affected by swine flu, by providing logistic support for drugs and masks.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw was also informed by the Centre that it has been regularly advising the state governments to deal with the viral disease.
It, however, said that health being a state subject, the state governments are expected to take prompt measures.
"The central government has assisted the affected state governments, including Delhi, by providing logistic support for drugs, masks and personal protection," said the affidavit filed by the Centre.
"The central government has been advising the states, from time to time, to build capacity to manage seasonal influenza. Health being a state subject, the state government are expected to take prompt measures for virus and for diagnosis, case management and treatment of the patients," it said.
"However, the central government has also been pro-active in assisting the state governments and has been monitoring the influenza H1N1 outbreak situation and remains in regular touch with the affected state governments."
The Centre`s response came after the high court last week asked it to inform it about the steps taken to deal with the spreading swine flu disease.
The court would hear on March 18 the PIL that said the government should provide more laboratories in the capital for testing swine flu and the facility should be available at an affordable cost.
The plea challenged "the inaction and lackadaisical and perfunctory approach of the government" in effectively dealing with swine flu.
In its affidavit, the Centre also submitted that states have been given guidelines on risk categorisation of patients, clinical case management and ventilator management.
The Centre has established a network of 21 laboratories equipped to conduct tests for the virus. Three of these labs are in Delhi, it said, adding that Oseltamivir, the drug recommended by the WHO, is manufactured in India.
"The outbreak monitoring cell of the NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) is functioning round-the-clock to attend to public queries. The call number is 011-23921401," it added.
The Delhi government also filed an affidavit saying it has been taking steps to deal with the disease. The number of hospitals and labs has increased to 26 and 11 respectively.