Thiruvananthapuram: With Kerala assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan too down with fever, which seems to be assuming gigantic proportions, the government has moved to ensure more than adequate supply of medicines and presence of medical professionals in state-run hospitals.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the state assembly on Thursday that all measures are being taken to tackle the spread of the fever across the state.
He said this in response to an adjournment motion moved by senior Communist party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator Elamaram Kareem.
Kareem pointed out that the price of medicines has gone up like never before and drug manufacturers were having a free run.
"We have asked authorities to see that they can make local purchases of medical supplies. I request all legislators to report to us if there is any shortage of either medicines or manpower in any of the state-run hospitals in their constituencies. If there is any shortage, it will be immediately addressed," said Chandy.
Kareem said that state assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan too was down with the fever and hence was not present in the assembly on Thursday morning.
Earlier, he said: "According to the figures till June 14, a record 8.3 lakh people have been down with fever this year, and in this month, till June 14, the fever hit more than 90,000 people compared to 40,000 people in the same period last year."
"Yesterday (Wednesday), 12,566 were admitted to hospitals for fever. This comes at a time when state-run hospitals are running short of medicines and manpower. Are you not ashamed of this situation?" he said.
"The price of medicine for leptospirosis patients has gone up from Rs.7 to Rs.57, and for the drug to stabilise the platelet count has gone up from Rs.3,000 to Rs.16,000. The first culprit for this exorbitant rise is the central government," Kareem said.
However, Health Minister V S Sivakumar said that all of the 117 medicines required to tackle various types of the fever were there and Kareem`s statement was misleading.
"In order to tackle the staff shortage in government hospitals, we have given sanction to recruit 1,900 temporary staff, which includes doctors," said Sivakumar.
The state cabinet by now has held two special cabinet meetings to discuss the spread of the disease and given powers to recruit staff including doctors for a period of six months at increased salaries.
The districts worst-affected by the fever are Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.