On June 13, Union minister Harsh Vardhan assured all assistance to Bihar in further strengthening surveillance mechanisms amid reports of rise in cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and Japanese Encephalitis in some districts of the state.
The Union health minister met Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey at Nirman Bhawan in New Delhi and pitched for mounting extensive awareness campaigns, especially in the districts reporting rise in the cases of both the disease.
Vardhan said people should be sensitised to the need for taking their children for timely treatment to nearby primary health centres (PHCs) before the child gets critical.
“Timely identification of the symptoms of hypoglycemia shall hugely contribute to timely and effective treatment. The children should be brought to the PHC as soon as these symptoms are noticed,” Vardhan said.
According to a release issued by the Muzaffarpur district administration on Wednesday, 36 children died at the SKMCH hospital in the district where a total of 117 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have been reported since June 1.
Vardhan also suggested that as the cases are from some defined areas in the high load districts, the state should also involve other stakeholders like IMA and NGOs for widespread awareness and education campaigns.
He sought active involvement of the district administration to make every deputy collector in-charge of one tehsil each to actively monitor and ensure that no child reaches a critical condition and that they are taken to the nearest health centre.
He stressed upon the importance of sturdy mechanisms for monitoring and surveillance.
The Centre’s multi-disciplinary team is deployed there and has been supporting the state government in management and containment of the cases. He also suggested that the number of pediatricians in the SKMCH hospital in the state be augmented for effective treatment of these cases.
Vardhan stated that food distribution to all children through the ICDS aganwadi centres and hot meals distribution through NGOs, etc, shall help in boosting the nutrition levels of children in these districts.
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