Investigating the major medical disaster currently plaguing Bihar, where Acute Encephalitis Syndrome(AES) has currently claimed the lives of 135 children in Bihar, Republic TV, on Tuesday, has accessed excerpts of a 2014 report prepared by the Bihar government of the pledge promised by the Centre and state government to fight AES.
Here are Republic TV's findings as mentioned in the report:
Below are the steps that were taken by the Centre after analysing the 156 deaths occurred due to encephalitis in seven districts - Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Vaishali, Sheohar, Samastipur and West Champaran in 2014.
- 5 ministries - Health & Family Welfare, Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation, Women & Child Development, Social Justice & Empowerment and Housing Urban Poverty & Alleviation had been roped in to fight AES
- An action plan had been formulated to prevent the outbreak AES and meetings were held in Delhi in February 2011.
- Special vaccination campaigns were carried out in Gaya, Aurangabad in 2012 and in 2013, another vaccination campaign was carried out in Nov-Dec 2013 in the above-mentioned districts.
- The government had also roped in experts from Centre for Disease Control (Atlanta), National Centre for Disease Control (Delhi), National Institute of Virology (Pune) and Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (Patna) to help tackle AES. A team from these institutes had visited Muzaffarpur to establish the source of infection of AES.
- 19 MAC-ELISA kits were supplied free of cost to the state till 2014.
- In 2012-2013, Rs 6.84 crore released to strengthen hospitals in Gaya and Muzaffarpur. While, in 2013-2014, Rs 16.88 crore released to implement a control strategy for prevention and control of AES.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Issues Statement As Encephalitis Death Toll Rises To 130, Orders Cleanup Even As Cause Remains Unknown
Apart from these steps, the Nitish-Kumar led government also implemented 21-steps to tackle AES. Here are the major steps:
- ASHA and Anganwadi workers were given printed awareness materials to distribute door-to-door. They were also responsible for identifying fever on early onset and refer the patients.
- Medical officers (MO) from other districts were deployed at blocks PHCs of Muzaffarpur and at SKMCH to provide care. Specialists from Patna were visiting to treat cases in pediatric ICUs.
- State Health administration set up mobile units to pick up patients and increase the number of ambulances at block PHCs.
- For the treatment of Encephalitis cases a separate ICU to ensure treatment, while kits were used to treat the early onset of AES.
- Essential medicines were made available in SMKCH and additionally trained pediatricians were stationed.
- All Medical Officers-in-charge were tasked with surveillance to detect suspected cases while all ASHA workers were appraised of the necessary prevention and control measures.
- In all affected areas, fogging operations were carried out while special campaigns for prevention, control, and awareness were carried out throughout the district.
- List of patients of suspected cases was prepared from all PHC, districts private nursing homes, etc.
- The entire move was monitored and supervised by the health minister of Bihar, Principal Secretary (Health) Director in chief of state, Deputy CMO Malaria and Assistant Director of Kala-azar.
SHOCKING: Amid Encephalitis Deaths In Bihar, Investigation Reveals Children Being Treated On The Floors And In Huts In Vaishali
Here is the 2-page report accessed by Republic TV:
Currently, the death toll in Muzaffarpur district has reached 109, in Vaishali district 1 and in Samastipur 4, with the administration under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar blaming it on excessive heat and humidity, hypoglycemia, eating litchis on an empty stomach. However, despite the disease affecting the state every year, the questions as to why the state or Centre failed to combat this illness remains unanswered inspite of claiming to have executed the above-mentioned steps to prevent, control and tackle AES.