J&K facing shortage of 12 lakh measles vaccines: Omar

 Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said while the Centre has been very helpful in dealing with floods, the state is facing a shortage of nearly 12 lakh measles vaccines, which they will now purchase from the open market.

PTI| Updated: Sep 19, 2014, 14:44 PM IST

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said while the Centre has been very helpful in dealing with floods, the state is facing a shortage of nearly 12 lakh measles vaccines, which they will now purchase from the open market.

"We need to vaccinate 13 lakh children in the age group of 0-15 years so that we do not have measles epidemic. We have only received one lakh vaccines from the Centre. I have now told my department not to wait for this for Government of India and procure vaccine from the market," Omar told PTI.

He said the Centre has been helpful and "in some respects their own channels have been inundated by the floods in the scale of what is required. Therefore, supplies are not as quickly available to us as we would have liked."

Omar said money has been put in the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, which was set up after the devastating floods.

"As of yesterday, about Rs 55 crore were deposited in the CM Relief fund, most of it from seven or eight states. Largest individual contribution, I am grateful to him, has been from (UP Chief Minister) Akhilesh Yadav. Other states have given Rs 5 crore etc. I have money which I am going to purchase vaccines and chlorine tablets," he said.

Against a promised 50 lakh chlorine tablets, the state had received only 10 lakh tablets so far from the Centre, Omar said, adding, "We will try, whatever is to be procured, to procure it from open market."

The Chief Minister said according to conservative estimates, the damage to equipment in the ground floors of various state hospitals which were affected by the floods is to the tune of Rs 150 crore.

"All our diagnostic and laboratory equipment that has been mostly in the ground floor and even at first floor has been damaged. A conservative estimate of the Health Department is that hospital equipment worth Rs 150 crore has been destroyed.

"Obviously, this can't be replaced overnight. But in our memorandum which we are going to submit to the Government of India, this is going to be part of it so that we can immediately procure new equipment so that we make these hospital fully functional," he said.

Omar said he has put money at the disposal of Medical Superintendents of various hospitals in the state for purchase of life saving drugs.

"I have put the money at the disposal of Superintendents of Hospitals--Rs 5 lakh for district hospitals, Rs 10 lakh for city hospitals and Rs 15 lakh for SKIMS hospital-- so that they can make purchases themselves, so they should not be short of anything," he added.

Omar said there was no sign of any epidemic or outbreak of disease in the flood affected areas so far.

"Fortunately, the patients who are coming to the medical camps of the army, CRPF, NDRF and government medical camps, there is no trend of epidemic of illness. It is very regular treatments that they are coming for which leads us to believe that thus far there are no signs of epidemic," he said.

The Chief Minister said disposal of over 300 animal carcasses has been a major achievement in preventing the outbreak of diseases.

"One of the major things we have achieved is disposal of animal carcases. We have disposed off 300 animal carcasses so far in three nights we have started two days ago. If you calculate it, one truck carries only 2 carcasses at a time... that is about 150 truck ferries," he added.