As the death toll in Bihar increases amid Encephalitis outbreak, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been constantly monitoring the situation in Muzaffarpur. While the death toll of children has risen up to 170 in the state of Bihar with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Sushil Modi showing their alleged arrogance to media, Dr Vardhan has now said that it is the Prime Minister as per whose instructions Centre is taking steps in Bihar's Muzaffarpur.
Taking to Twitter on June 21, Dr Harsh Vardhan said: "It was as per his instructions that I went to Muzaffarpur. Based on PM’s guidance, Centre is providing all possible support to the Bihar Government. We are committed to defeat this illness."
Here's his tweet:
Earlier, Republic TV asked the health minister about the steps taken by the Centre to combat the disease that has been in the state for many years.
"Indian government is supporting the state in giving good treatment to the patients to contain the infection and is providing with pediatricians, epidemiologists, specialists, ICMR experts. When I had taken charge as Union Health Minister, within 4-5 days I had dispatched these facilities to tackle the epidemic as soon as early cases had been reported," he said.
Admitting that the suggestions he had given in 2014 to improve the health infrastructure in Bihar had not been implemented, he reiterated that he had again suggested the establishment of a separate research center to ascertain the cause.
"State government is also doing its best. I have not just visited the 100 children, I have studied their cases and talked to their parents. While I had previously suggested that a state of the art Pediatric ICU should be installed, I saw in my recent visit that they (state hospital) had carved out a special Pediatric ICU in the existing infrastructure itself. As Muzaffarpur is endemic area, I again suggested that they should create a separate center now within a year as it has not been established according to my previous suggestion," he said.
In similar lines to the Bihar government, he too had said that the exact cause of the disease is unknown and needs research.
"The causes of this disease is still unknown. There are multiple causes - bacterial, viral. It is important that along with treatment, research should also be done so that this disease can be controlled permanently," he added.
The administration under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar blamed the outbreak of the disease 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.