Gujarat HC pulls up state govt on swine flu: why not declare it an epidemic

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the state government over the prevalence of swine flu in the state and asked why it did not declare the disease "an epidemic".

The court also termed the state government's report on steps being taken to handle the disease as "an eyewash".

After lashing out at the state government, the court directed the Commissioner of Health to file a detailed affidavit on a variety of issues related to the disease and medical emergency situation in the state by April 9, when further hearing is scheduled.

The court presided over by Justice Anant Dave had, in the last hearing, asked the state government to submit a detailed report related to the disease while acting on certain bail petitions by some undertrial prisoners who had sought bail to attend to their relatives suffering from diseases like swine flu, malaria and dengue.

On Tuesday, the state government counsel presented the report before the court and apprised it about the instructions being given to the government hospitals and health centres.

The court, however, was unimpressed. "Instructions do not work. There are no qualified doctors in your CHCs (Community Health Centres). Even for X-ray, patients have to go outside," the court said.

The court said there were norms of cleanliness and hygiene in government hospitals but expressed doubts about how many hospitals were following the same.

Apprising the court about various provisions at government hospitals, the state government's counsel said they were having rain-basera facilities in major centres for accommodation of relatives of the patients.

To this, the court said, "Even for patients there are no beds in hospitals, what rain basera for their relatives? This is an eye-wash. They (relatives of the patients) are sleeping outside the Civil Hospital. And health and hygiene are worst in government hospitals."

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