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Officials hold consultations with private doctors on SARS

By Basharat Peer in New Delhi
April 24, 2003 14:38 IST
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Now that the government seems to have woken up to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, senior officials at the health ministry on Thursday held consultations with the representatives of collective bodies of private doctors -- Indian Medical Association and Delhi Medical Association.

"Since private practitioners constitute a large segment of the health sector we are consulting them on the SARS issue. The purpose of the meeting was also to spread more awareness about

SARS among the medical fraternity," Additional Director General of Health Services Dr P Ravindran told rediff.com. He added the government took the opinions of the IMA and DMA representatives on the formulation of strategies to tackle the SARS threat. "The modalities of spreading awareness among the doctors and building of a strategy was discussed and is being worked out," he said.

Though, this was the first major meeting government held with the IMA, Director General of Health Services, Dr. S P Agarwal told the press the government had been in constant touch with the IMA as the private doctors 'have a big role to play in containing the disease'.

In the last few weeks, many SARS suspects had initially gone to private doctors only, who later alerted the health authorities. For instance, Rebecca Raleigh, the American photographer who was suspected to be infected with the SARS virus in Bombay or the 29-year-old Chinese woman under observation at Infectious Diseases Hospital, Delhi had initially gone to private doctors.

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Basharat Peer in New Delhi
 
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