Mangaluru: State Minister for Health and Family Welfare, U T Khader held a press meet at the Circuit House here on February 19.
Addressing the media persons, Khader said, “The first phase of pulse polio drive was held on January 17 and was a huge success with a total coverage of 74,39,229 children over an estimated 74,24,633 children below the age of 5. That makes the total coverage to be 100.2%.”
“The second phase of state wide pulse polio drive will be held on February 21 and we expect a similar turn over. In the entire state of Karnataka, 32,617 booths are set up to immunize children. Further 51,732 teams, 1,03,464 volunteers, 6,522 supervisors, 1205 mobile units and 1,736 transit teams are formed. Transit teams will immunize the children in 29,000 high risk areas,” Khader said.
He further said that awareness was being spread at all levels. Polio booths will be open for immunization on February 21 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, after which volunteers will visit individual houses to deliver the immunization till February 24. “Though India has been declared as free from polio by WHO, it is very important to give polio drops to your children. I urge all parents and guardians to immunize their children from this deadly virus,” he added.
When asked about the 108 ambulance drivers who were on strike demanding pay hikes, Khader said, “There is a problem and to rectify it we need to re-structure the system again. Rs 16 lakh was given to the NGO’s for maintaining the ambulance service, which covered the expenses like, salaries, medicines and bills. When we are finding it extremely difficult to appoint doctors and other medical staff how are the NGO’s appointing the staff? It is clear that they are using under trained health care personnel who are willing to work for low salary. We have issued notice to the NGO’s to withdraw if they cannot function according to the conditions laid down by us.”
Khader further said, “There were a lot of problems with the 108 ambulance service. The response time usually violated the 20 minutes deadline, medicinal kits were being misused, the ambulances were not maintained properly. It is the duty of the organization to appoint competent staff, who can work efficiently. 153 drivers who were on strike have been dismissed and a fresh process of appointing new drivers in on. Around 600 newly inducted drivers are being trained now. After all these actions, we have observed an increase in the call response time from 80% to 95%.”
“There will be a meeting of all health officials at the Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha on February 22, which will address the issues of, grants, future budget, AYUSH, organ transplant, etc,” he added.
DMO Dr Rajeshwari, DHO Dr Ramakrishna and others were also present.