The Centre is soon going to create a strong health support and emergency management infrastructure for the pilgrims of Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand. It will be a three-layer structure to ensure that the pilgrims are provided with better healthcare services during their journey, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday.
He said this after a meeting with Uttarakhand Health Minister Dhan Singh Rawat, who requested for support from the Centre for developing a health and emergency infrastructure for lakhs of pilgrims who undertake the Char Dham yatra every year, a health ministry statement said.
Rawat apprised Mandaviya about the health challenges faced by pilgrims along the strenuous route, and the number of pilgrim deaths in the past few years due to health emergencies such as stroke, etc., the statement said. Many of these casualties were of pilgrims who suffered co-morbidities, the Uttarakhand health minister added.
Mandaviya assured full support from the Central government and stated that “the best possible healthcare and health emergency infrastructure will be provided for the visiting pilgrims”.
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, he said, adding these ambulances will be stationed at different points on the yatra route.
According to the statement, 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 said.
Besides, drones will also be used to provide emergency medicines in the higher locales of the yatra route. Drones have been successfully used for transportation of COVID-19 vaccines in the north-eastern region recently, the statement said.
The Char Dham -- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri -- are located above 10,000-ft in the Garhwal Himalayas, it said, adding that recently, AIIMS-Rishikesh started a drone service to deliver and pick medicines.
“A strong referral back-end system is being developed with AIIMS-Rishikesh, Doon Medical College and Srinagar Medical College acting as tertiary nodes for specialist care. This shall provide an end-to-end clinical treatment for pilgrims' health, the Union health minister stated.
These measures will be supported with citizen-friendly communication and awareness activities such as websites/portals to inform pilgrims of weather conditions, importance of acclimatization, location of health facilities on the way, call centre numbers, pre-yatra screening and emergency support numbers, among others, the statement said.