Millennium Post

Swine flu toll rises, Tamiflu stocks getting depleted

Swine flu toll rises, Tamiflu stocks getting depleted
Surprisingly, even though 139 deaths have been reported between February 12 to February 16, officials of the health ministry held states responsible for not acting in a timely manner. According sources in the health ministry, the Centre does not have any buffer stock of Tamiflu, the only medicine prescribed to swine flu struck patients.

“As there is a huge cut in health budget, the Centre has asked states to procure the medicine from their available budget. The government hospitals have also been directed to procure swine flu medicines from their own fund,” a highly-placed source said. Though, the health ministry refutes claims that states have a  depleted supplies of Tamiflu tablets, the reality is very different. In an investigation, Millennium Post found that the medicines are not available in districts of Rajasthan which have reported maximum cases of swine flu. The hospitals in Ajmer, Jodhpur, Jaipur are running out of Tamilflu stock.

A Jodhpur resident Afsar Bhandari said: “A relative of mine has just died due to the influenza flu as doctors didn’t prescribe the medicine even after he tested  positive for swine flu. Doctors have stopped prescribing Tamiflu as government hospitals  in Jodhpur have run out of stocks.” The number of swine flu cases  nationally has crossed the 9,000 mark as the latest data from the ministry has put the figure at 9311 cases till February 16. The Rajasthan Health Minister’s office, when contacted, replied that the minister was busy.

According to official figures, Rajasthan tops the list of swine flu hit states with 172 deaths, followed by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. While Delhi and Tamil Nadu have reported a high incidence of swine flu cases, the death toll in the two states is relatively low due to high level of awareness and a better health infrastructure. Punjab has the highest ratio of the number of deaths to those affected by the disease. Of the 68 people who contracted the virus in the state this year, 28 have died.
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