Encephalitis deaths: Nitish Kumar faces protest outside hospital in Muzaffarpur

18 Juin, 2019, 21:34 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • An Indian child arrives in a hospital due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome as family members react in Muzaffarpur

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday visited Muzaffarpur district, where 107 children have died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) so far.

The state has come under fire for its delayed response to the outbreak, with angry protesters today chanting "Wapas jao (go back)" at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar when he visited the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzzaffarpur.

Kumar conducted an emergency meeting with his deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi, state health minister Mangal Pandey, urban development minister Suresh Kumar Sharma, and top bureaucrats. They included 88 deaths reported from the SKMCH and 19 from a charitable Kejriwal Hospital.

Instructions were also issued for equipping primary health centres with necessary facilities so that children with symptoms of AES in remote areas could be provided with medical attention closer home since, in several cases, the time involved in travelling to the district headquarters and seeking admission to hospitals had led to worsening of the condition of patients.

He directed officials to visit the villages where the children had died to record their social and medical history. It is also reported that, apart from Muzaffarpur, some other districts of the state have also been affected.

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Acute Encephalitis Syndrome has spread like wild fire in the Indian city of Muzaffarpur, claiming 20 lives alone on 16 June.

The Commission also wanted to know about the status of the treatment being provided to the now hospitalised children and the relief provided by the state to the aggrieved families. It is expected that the Bihar government would submit the report within four weeks.

Thousands of people in India suffer from encephalitis, malaria, typhoid and other mosquito-borne diseases each year during the summer monsoon season, with children younger than 15 being the most vulnerable, according to the Associated Press.

A total of 104 children have died due to AES in Muzaffarpur, while 12 children died due to the viral infection in Vaishali.

The Commission was informed that the Union government has initiated the NPPCJA in this regard. The state's health minister, though, doesn't seem to be taking the issue as seriously as one might expect.

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