New Delhi, Jul 10: Union Health Minister J P Nadda on Wednesday insisted focusing on high burden states and regions where outbreaks of dengue are frequently reported and directed the officials to create a 24/7 central helpline number for dengue prevention and awareness.

Nadda, who chaired a high-level meeting to review the dengue situation across the country, directed AIIMS and all central government hospitals to have dedicated dengue wards fully equipped with trained manpower, drugs and other logistics.

They have also been instructed to create a referral system to optimally utilise their clinical facilities.

Nadda was briefed on the nationwide dengue situation and preparedness of the health ministry.

It was informed that the dengue case fatality rate has reduced from 3.3 per cent in 1996 to 0.1 per cent in 2024 as a result of focused, timely and collaborative activities.

Underlining the challenge posed by the onset of monsoon and the threat of increasing number of dengue cases during the rainy season, Nadda emphasised the importance of being prepared against dengue.

He directed the officials to gear up and strengthen prevention, containment and management measures against dengue.

Nadda urged the officials to primarily focus on high burden states and regions where outbreaks are frequently reported. He asked them to pro-actively work with the states to bring tangible results on dengue prevention.

He particularly stressed on inter-ministerial convergence meeting involving Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Education Ministry, municipal corporations and local self government for sensitisation on their roles and responsibilities for dengue prevention and control.

He stated that the Centre has been pro-actively communicating with the states on timely action for prevention and control of dengue activities.

Various inter-sectoral meetings have been conducted to sensitise the stakeholders and ministries on their role and responsibilities on prevention and control of dengue. He informed that these activities will be further strengthened in the coming years.

Highlighting the importance of communication and awareness enhancement activities, the health minister stated that in order to sensitise the communities regarding the Aedes mosquito which generally bites in the daytime, awareness campaign among school going children and others will be taken up at a massive scale.

The campaign includes wearing clothes that keep the body fully covered and keeping various water containers, pots and other containers free of stagnant water.

A nationwide IEC (Information, Education and Communication) campaign for awareness through TV, radio, social media and other platforms will be taken up across the country.

The minister directed the officials to create a 24/7 central helpline number for dengue prevention and awareness, and support for queries on the symptoms, treatment protocols and help during emergency situation.

The states were also advised to operationalise similar helpline numbers.

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr Atul Goel highlighted the need for sensitising municipal bodies in the states for preventing dengue outbreaks. He also suggested improving the coolers and tanks in the buildings to make them immune from mosquito breeding. PTI