Amidst the rising death toll due to outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), shocking reports have emerged from Bihar that in Sunday's press briefing held by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwani Kumar Choubey and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey, Pandey was seen asking the score of Sunday's India -Pakistan match while visiting the state-owned Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) to review the current health situation on-ground.
Visuals broken by Republic TV on Sunday, show Pandey casually asking how many wickets had been lost by India in the presence of Vardhan and Choubey while discussing the ongoing treatment done at the hospital. The hospital's doctors are seen sitting in the same room. Pandey is seen continuing to worry about whether the match would continue or not due to the onset of rain in Manchester, UK. Several media persons were present at the briefing.
Earlier on Saturday, in an exclusive interview to Republic, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey said that the researchers had 3-4 reasons to give in the outbreak after their research. While he said that it can be caused due to dehydration after humidity, he also stated that eating lychee empty-stomach can also be a reason.
"The researchers had 3-4 things to say after their research. One, humidity causes dehydration in the body. Secondly, eating lychee empty-stomached. Thirdly, if the child sleeps empty stomached at night, it causes hypoglycemia. These are some of the main reasons that were told by them," Pandey said.
Later on being questioned why is the disease spreading in the district, the Bihar Health Minister put the blame on the parents and guardians of the children saying that they would have gotten the kids faster to the hospital, the treatment would have begun immediately.
Currently, AES has claimed the lives of 101 children in Muzaffarpur district, Bihar. After several days of silence, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has called an emergency internal meeting on Monday to address the situation arisen due to the outbreak of the disease. Reports say that health department senior officials are to be present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, Vardhan who visited the state on Sunday addressed a press conference after reviewing the situation and explained the efforts taken by the Centre and the state.
"I took an overall comprehensive view. The efforts made by the government till now is good. We have set the timelines to improve the situation after meeting with Bihar Health minister. An epidemiologist will be posted immediately to study this district continuously," he said.
Muzaffarpur district administration has cited excessive heat and humidity, hypoglycemia, eating litchi on an empty stomach as some of the reasons for this condition. They have also said that some of the patients who died in areas of extreme heat and humidity. They added that malnourishment was the major reason due to which they were unable to cope. Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar had said a few days ago that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts, especially in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran.