Temperatures spiked above 40 degrees this relentless summer in the month of May. 77 heat related cases were reported by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, which is not a correct representation of all the people who had suffered. Around 5050 people had to be taken to the hospital due to the unbearable heat in the month of May, according to the data from GVK-EMRI emergency ambulance service.
This means an average of 163 patients had to be shifted to hospitals daily in May. The patients taken had symptoms such as abdominal pain, high fever, fainting episodes, vomiting and most serious of them all – heat stroke.
Ahmedabad mirror had observed and reported that the Heat Action Plan was not devoid of flaws, despite 10 years of its usage. In lieu of that, it had issued circulars to both, private and public hospitals to initiate active reporting of all the heat related cases.
But, just like last year, the same issue of civic bodies not having a formal reporting system and lack of reporting being mandatorily done, cases could not be recorded officially.
NPCCHH or the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health, held by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Ahmedabad took up the matter of surveillance in one of the workshops conducted. AMC had raised the concern regarding insufficiency of vital public health data, which if collected could be used to ameliorate mitigation measures, and number of deaths due to heat. Upon this, an anonymous official commented that it was very tough to obtain data related to heat induced deaths because there are no stringent laws regarding reporting. To expect private hospitals to undertake such measures voluntarily is being unrealistically optimistic.
So, though Modi has asked all states to curate their own Heat Action Plans and countermeasures are being taken, there is barely any data to showcase the change in outcomes.
National Digital System for Heat Health Surveillance
Participants of the NPCCHH meeting shared that the NCDC is soon to develop a national digital system that will aid in reporting heat-related ailments and deaths,especially heat stroke. This decision was taken after nodal officers across the country sent complaints about difficulties in manual reporting, which called for a simplified system that helped in reporting of cases