| A woman tends to a child admitted to Kejriwal Maternity Clinic on Wednesday. Picture by Lokesh Bihari |
The district administration has asked officials to spot children with suspected acute encephalitis syndrome symptoms in the rural areas and supervise the treatment provided to the patients.
Acting district magistrate of Muzaffarpur Kanwal Tanuj on Wednesday deputed five more administrative officials to make rounds of Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic. Deputy director, health, S.M. Mushtaque and chief medical officer Gyan Bhushan were already making hourly rounds of the hospitals to supervise treatment and amenities being provided to the ailing children and their families.
Reviewing preparedness to tackle the suspected encephalitis cases with Tanuj over videoconferencing, principal secretary, health, Deepak Kumar assured the administration of deployment of more doctors and ambulances. “Accredited social health activists should be assigned the task to identify children with suspected acute encephalitis syndrome symptoms in their respective areas,” said Deepak.
Apart from the steps taken to boost supervision in the town, the administration has assigned block development officers and child development project officers the responsibility to monitor treatment protocols at SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic.
The child development project officers are being sent to the different blocks to identify children with suspected acute encephalitis syndrome symptoms. Assisting them would be teams of accredited social health activists and anganwadi sevikas (workers).
Tanuj said: “The child development project officers have been warned that action would be taken against them if any children die in want of treatment. If even the slightest symptom of suspected acute encephalitis syndrome is found among children in the rural areas, they are to be brought to SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic.
“Members of the health department are conducting intensive inspections in the villages to identify children with symptoms of the disease. They have been directed to rescue children from quacks and sorcerers, who fleece gullible parents in the rural areas in the name of divine treatment,” he added.
Initial treatment at the hands of quacks is a matter of worry for the medical teams supervising treatment of the ailing children.
Dr James Xavier of the Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, who is camping in the district for work on the suspected acute encephalitis syndrome, said: “The children are being referred to SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic after treatment by quacks. Then, it is difficult to save the children if they come in late. The district magistrate and health officials, monitoring the condition of the children in the hospitals, have been requested to check the late arrival.”
A team of doctors comprising Prabhat Kumar Sinha, Ravi Kumar, Krishna Pandey and Diwakar Singh from Rajendra Memorial Research Institute, Patna, arrived in the district on Wednesday afternoon to collect serum and blood samples of the admitted children for pathological examination.
Thirty additional doctors from the adjoining districts have been deputed to help at the primary health centres and additional health centres to tone up rural healthcare.
About 50 ambulances provided by the State Health Society, Bihar, were also sent to the primary health centres and additional primary health centres on Wednesday morning so that patients could be easily brought to the SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic.