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Manjhi faces fever protest

Jitan Ram Manjhi enquires about an ailing child at Kejriwal Maternity Clinic in Muzaffarpur on Sunday. Picture by Lokesh Bihari

Muzaffarpur, June 8: Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had his first brush with people’s wrath here today as he met the parents of those who lost their children to suspected acute encephalitis syndrome.

Manjhi was hooted and yelled at outside the main gates of Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) when a motley crowd of agitating attendants of patients and people gathered there tried to stop his convoy. Angry people started raising slogans: “CM wapas jao (CM go back) sharam karo (feel shame) and doob maro (go to hell)” for well about half an hour.

Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) surfacing in Muzaffarpur and adjoining areas during summer is a regular affair. This year, 33 deaths have been reported and reports of fresh cases of children getting afflicted with AES continue to pour in at the SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic.

District magistrate Anupam Kumar rushed to pacify the crowd ventire its ire at Manjhi but faced a tough time tackling them.

Manjhi, accompanied by health minister Ram Dhani Singh and transport minister Ramai Ram, landed here this afternoon to take stock of the AES situation. He minutely inspected the SKMCH and the paediatric intensive care unit and met family members of children being treated there.

He had to encounter an embarrassing situation while visiting the wards when attendant Mohammad Imran Khan of Barhampura pointed out to him unhygienic conditions at the hospital.

He was stunned when Khan said that the nurses and paramedical staff play truant while treating patients. The chief minister later visited Kejriwal Maternity Clinic and lauded efforts of the charitable trust to lend a helping hand to the ailing children.

Manjhi said scientists and expert teams from the Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, US, led by James Xavier and from National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi, led by Padmini Padmanbhun were at work in laboratories to investigate the cause and identify the viruses behind outbreak of the epidemic every year during the summer in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining areas.

He also announced that the SKMCH would have 100 more beds at the paediatric intensive care unit in a couple of months. On the other hand, newly appointed energy department secretary Pratyaya Amrit said uninterrupted power supply would be provided to the SKMCH.