Government has decided to create a three layered healthcare infrastructure for the large number of pilgrims who undertake Char Dham yatra every year in an effort to keep a check on number of deaths that take place during the season due to the strenuous route.
Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya in a meeting with Dr Dhan Singh Rawat, Health Minister, Uttarakhand assured all the help from the central government to the state government for this.
Rawat, had called on Mandaviya requesting support from Union Government for developing a health and emergency infrastructure for the lakhs of pilgrims who undertake the Char Dham Yatra every year.
After the meeting Mandaviya said, “The Government is soon going to create a strong health support and emergency management infrastructure for the pilgrims embarking on Cham Dham yatra from across the country. This will be three layered structure to ensure that the pilgrims are provided for during their journey from medical point of view”.
Rawat informed the Union Health Minister of the health challenges faced by pilgrims along the strenuous route, and the number of pilgrim deaths in the past few months due to health emergencies such as stroke etc. Many of these casualties were of pilgrims who suffered from co-morbidities, he added.
While assuring all the support, Mandaviya stated that “the best possible healthcare and health emergency infrastructure will be provided for the visiting pilgrims”.
He informed that a strong network of advance ambulances and stroke vans is planned to ensure that stroke management and treatment can start on way to the health facility. These ambulances will be stationed at different points on the yatra route.
PG students from medical colleges from across the country are proposed to be deployed as part of strengthened healthcare infrastructure who will act as first responders. “This experience will also act as a skilling and capacity building exercise for the PG students”, Mandaviya elaborated.
In addition to this, drones will also be used to provide emergency medicines in the higher locales of the yatra. Drones have been successfully used for transportation of COVID19 vaccines in the north eastern region recently; Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri are located above 10,000-ft in the Garhwal Himalayas.
Recently, AIIMS-Rishikesh has started a drone service to deliver and pick medicines. “A strong referral backend system is being developed with AIIMS Rishikesh, Doon Medical College and Srinagar Medical Colleges acting as tertiary nodes for specialist care. This shall provide an end-to-end clinical treatment for pilgrims’ health, Union health Minister stated.
These measures will be supported with citizen-friendly communication and awareness activities such as website and portals to inform pilgrims of weather conditions, importance of acclimatisation, location of health facilities on the way, call centre numbers, pre-yatra screening, emergency support numbers.