Health Dept upgrades Infrastructure to deal with High-Altitude Medical Emergencies
Leh: The Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education, Dr. Pawan Kotwal chaired a meeting at the Civil Secretariat Leh to discuss the oxygen infrastructure and preparation for the tourist season.
Reiterating the directions of the Lieutenant Governor, UT Ladakh, Brig (Dr) BD Mishra (Retd), the Principal Secretary exhorted that the department in view of the upcoming tourist season should take all necessary steps to ensure no casualties take place among tourists due to hypoxia or low oxygen.
Dr. Kotwal said that the mandatory 48 hours of acclimatisation advisory should be well publicized through Information, Education, and Communication in collaboration with both the district administrations so that tourists are well aware and take necessary precautions to avoid any health emergencies.
He stressed that signages with health advisories should be put up in critical places on the roads and tourist destinations for the information of tourists.
He was informed that the Health Department has procured and kept ready several ‘Gamow bags’ at the nearest medical centres in various critical locations to treat severe cases of altitude sickness.
These pressure bags depending upon the elevation can within minutes decrease the adverse effects of altitude by 1000 m by as much as 3000 m.
Dr. Kotwal gave directions for adequate Gamow bags to be deployed specifically at critical areas viz. Khardung La, Tsoltak near Chang La, Spangmik near Pangong Lake, and at Tangste Medical Centre in Durbuk tehsil, among others.
Dr. Kotwal was informed that ‘Oxygen parlours’ were already functional at Health and Wellness Centres Kargyak, and Rangdum, in Zanskar among others.
It was shared that ‘Oxygen Parlours’ will be functional from April 2023 onwards at the Khardungla top, Gya village on Leh- Manali highway, Tsoltak, Zangla and Abran Health and Wellness Centre in Zanskar area. Oxygen Parlours shall also be set up this year at 3 new tourist routes opened by the Tourism Department Ladakh, which include Phobrang at Martsemik La,- Tsog Tsa Lu route, Shyok- Galwan route, and Panamik-Siachen route.
The Principal Secretary reviewed the status of the National Ambulance Service, Dial 108.
CMO Kargil, Dr. Munnawar informed the meeting that the ambulance service was functional even in remote areas such as Trespone, Shemsha Kharbu, Khangral etc. Dr. Kotwal asked the DHS to expedite the procurement of 8 new Advanced Life Support Ambulances and asked the MD, NHM and the SE, Mechanical to expedite the fitting of the existing BLS Ambulance with ALS equipment.
Dr. Kotwal also reviewed the status of the installation of boosters in all the Oxygen Generation plants installed at various Health institutions so that these can be used to fill oxygen cylinders to make oxygen available at all Public Health Institutions and Health and Wellness Centers. Further, he gave directions to ensure that the installation/commissioning of ‘Hyperbaric Chambers’ at the SNM District hospital, Leh is got done well before the onset of the next tourist season in April 2023.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Iftikhar Choudhary, Mission Director, National Health Mission; Dr. Motup Dorje, Director Health and Medical Education; Om Prakash, SE Mechanical Department; Dr. Nurzin Angmo, CMO, Leh; Dr. Munnawar, CMO, Kargil; Dr. Tsewang Chorol, M. Taqi, Medical Superintendent, Leh, and Konchok Deputy Director Planning (K), PD&MD.
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