Patna, June 13: The health department today introduced a helpline number 0612-2217608 for attendants of children suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome. The action was taken after 129 children succumbed to the mystery disease in the state this year.
Officials with the health department said advice was being offered and complaints were being registered over the phone.
Apart from this, leaves of doctors in 10 most-affected districts of the state, including Muzaffarpur, Gaya, East Champaran, West Champaran and Saran, have been cancelled from today.
The doctors have been asked to report at their respective district headquarters.
Rajendra Prasad Ojha, the additional secretary of the health department, said on the first day, the helpline got a good response and people from various districts called up to enquire about the disease to seek advice.
We have also started a grievance redressal cell in the sadar hospitals in the affected districts where attendants of the children can register treatment-related complaints and demands. We will also send teams of government doctors in the affected areas to identify the children who might be suffering from the disease. This will ensure that the treatment of the children begins without delay, Ojha added.
The government, however, has decided against invoking epidemic act in the wake of the disease breakout fearing panic among people.
The act could allow us to collect post-mortem pathological test brain tissue biopsy that could help in diagnosing the cause of the disease. However, we do not want to create panic among people. Therefore we are not invoking the act yet. The situation, however, is being monitored at the highest level and we are doing our best to control it, Ojha said.