New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) — “We will take the help of these hermits. First we will train them and then take their help in generating awareness among lakhs of devotees who will visit our state,” Pankaj Jain, chief nodal officer for swine flu in Uttarakhand, told IANS.
The three month long fair begins Jan 14. It is considered to be one of the biggest congregations of Hindus in India.
Looking at the history of huge crowds at Kumbh, medical intervention by itself may not give the desired result. “More than doctors, devotees will listen to hermits and religious leaders. So training these people about swine flu will yield results. People will listen to them and the awareness will spread faster,” Jain explained.
Authorities said they will also hold a few camps to spread awareness.
Swami Dhirendracharya, a yoga guru from Orissa, who is planning to hold a camp in Haridwar welcomed the move.
“Apart from security, we are expecting the government to take care of the sanitation part. Proper drinking water is a must for all of us. I also expect the state government to provide face masks to help protect us from swine flu,” Dhirendracharya, currently touring Delhi, told IANS.
“It will be great, if the government helps in setting up camps for swine flu. I am ready to spread awareness among masses through the camp. There are several yogas and postures that help boost the immune system and fight respiratory diseases. We can teach that to people,” the yoga guru said.
With the mercury dipping in north India, the Himalayan state will have a heightened chance of contracting more swine flu cases. The state has so far reported 114 infections and nine others have succumbed to the contagious virus.
Across India, over 21,000 people have been diagnosed with swine flu, out of which nearly 700 people have lost their battle against the pandemic.
“We know the threat and are making all arrangements in advance,” Jain said. The entire Kumbh Mela region in Haridwar along with parts of Rishikesh, has been divided into 30 sectors. “In every sector, we are setting up a 10-bed hospital. In every hospital, there will be three doctors and one supervisor.”
“Bigger hospitals in Dehradun and adjoining areas have been given directions to have isolation wards. We had asked the central health ministry for 10 ventilators and they have sanctioned that,” said Jain, who is also the head epidemiologist of the state.
Swine flu is surging in Delhi, Rajasthan and other neighbouring states. “Entry screening of passengers shall also be conducted to prevent spread of the disease here,” he said.
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