Swine flu: States not doing enough, says Azad

Health Minister GN Azad has lashed out at state governments for not doing enough to combat swine flu.

Chennai/New Delhi: A middle-aged man and
a 26-year-old woman have succumbed to swine flu in Chennai and
badly-hit Bangalore, raising the countrywide toll to 46, even
as Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday accused state
governments of not doing enough to contain the pandemic.

The man, whose name was not immediately available, died
in Chennai last night, while the woman, identified as Lakshmi,
also fell to the infection also last night in Bangalore.

As many as 159 fresh flu cases were reported from
various states till yesterday, taking the total number of
those afflicted by the disease to 2,401, a Health Ministry
official said.

With the deaths today in Chennai, the flu toll has
climbed to 46 with Maharashtra accounting for 22, the highest
number of fatalities, followed by Karnataka with 10. Five
deaths have taken place in Gujarat, three in Tamil Nadu, two each in Delhi and
Chhattisgarh and one each in Kerala and

Lashing out at state governments, Azad said they have
"forgotten their duty" even though the Centre was stretching
itself to the maximum limit to contain the disease.

Addressing state health ministers at a review meeting
of the National Rural Health Mission in New Delhi, the
Minister said, "We (Centre) can go to a point, don`t expect us
to go beyond a point.

"This is the maximum limit we could stretch ourselves
to. Beyond this the state governments should shoulder their
responsibility which they haven`t done," Azad said.

Azad stressed that it was the Centre which was doing
everything, including contact tracing, procuring medicines,
looking for vaccines and training doctors.

While the Central officers were working so hard, he
said, "I would expect state level officer to at least sit till
10 pm and give some report and do something. It is because of
our intervention at the national level that we have succeeded
so far.

"There is a limit for the Ministry of Health to do
this contact tracing and treating. I would request all the
ministries and secretaries to be active and identify the
hospitals," he said.

Soon after Azad finished his speech, Gujarat Health
Minister J N Vyas remarked that as a federal minister, he
should not have made the remarks against state governments.

To this, Azad replied that he was not naming any state
and some states had indeed done good work.

A Health Ministry official said in Delhi that Mumbai
reported 18 new flu cases yesterday, Pune (66), Nashik (3),
Aurangabad (6), Dhule (4), Osmanabad (2), Washim (1), Solapur
(1), Beed (1), Parbhani (1), Chennai (12), Chengalpattu (1),
Delhi (11), Bangalore (13), Davangere (3), Hubli (2), Gadag
(1), Vishakhapatnam (3), Idukki (1), Thiruvananthapuram (1),
Ernakulam (1), Udaipur (3), Noida (1), Bareilly (1), Rohtak
(1) and Raipur (1).

Out of the 11 cases reported in Delhi, a 25-year-old
woman had visited Bangkok. While one person from Pune had
travelled to the UK, another patient from Vishakhapatnam had
travel history of having visited the UK and transited through
Dubai, he said.

A total of 12,604 persons have been tested so far for
the virus out of which 2,401 have been found to be positive
for swine flu. As many as 797 people have been identified
through screening at entry points and 1740 through contact
tracing, he said.

Bureau Report