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Centre Calls For Preparedness Review As Pneumonia Surges In China

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New Delhi: As cases of respiratory illnesses surge among children in northern China, the government has initiated a review of preparedness measures to address these health concerns. Authorities stress their vigilant monitoring of the situation and emphasize that there is no need for alarm.

The Health Ministry has instructed States and Union Territories (UTs) to promptly evaluate their public health and hospital readiness measures. The directive underscores the importance of securing sufficient human resources, hospital beds, essential medications, medical oxygen, antibiotics, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and reagents in healthcare facilities.

Furthermore, healthcare establishments must ensure the efficient functioning of their oxygen plants and ventilators, and carefully evaluate infection control procedures to mitigate the spread of infections, as outlined in the directive from the Health Ministry.

The Health Ministry has suggested implementing the “Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19.” Released earlier this year, these guidelines provide a thorough structure for monitoring respiratory pathogens, covering conditions such as influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI).

Additionally, it highlighted the importance of monitoring trends in Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI), particularly among children and adolescents, by district and state surveillance units within the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). The Health Ministry emphasized the crucial need for timely uploading of ILI-SARI data to the IDSP portal, especially from public health institutions, including medical college hospitals, to ensure effective monitoring and a swift response to potential outbreaks.

Still contending with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, China now confronts a fresh challenge in the form of a mysterious pneumonia outbreak swiftly spreading through its educational institutions. This recent development, reminiscent of the distressing scenes witnessed in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, has exerted significant pressure on hospitals nationwide.

Earlier this month, Chinese health officials from the National Health Commission (NHC) held a press conference to address a recent upsurge in respiratory illnesses across the country.

The abrupt increase in respiratory illnesses prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to seek additional information from Chinese authorities, following a report from the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases regarding clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children.

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