| Union food minister Ram Vilas Paswan visits children at Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur on Tuesday. Picture by Lokesh Bihari |
Muzaffarpur, June 17: Fresh cases continued to trickle in at Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic, pushing up the encephalitis count in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining districts. The official toll has crossed 90.
Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan visited Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital this afternoon to take stock of the situation.
Talking to reporters, Paswan took a dig at the state government for not declaring it an epidemic so far. “How many deaths does the government need to declare encephalitis an epidemic?” he asked. “It is the state government’s failure in tackling the threat timely. Beds in the paediatric intensive care unit should have been created before the disease struck. Encephalitis experts belonging to Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, US and the central team of National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi, are at work in the districts,” said Paswan.
The Union minister demanded at least Rs 10 lakh for the hapless parents of each child who died in course of treatment as compensation.
Principal health secretary Deepak Kumar has directed the district magistrates (DMs) and the civil surgeons of East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Sheohar and other districts to emulate the Muzaffarpur model to treat encephalitis cases.
He ordered necessary arrangements be made to treat children in the district government hospitals considering crunch in the number of ICU beds at SKMCH.
Confirming the spurt in admissions, Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital superintendent G.K. Thakur said: “Apart from beds of four paediatric units of intensive care, necessary arrangements are being made for 18 more beds to accommodate 36 ailing children. Work to set up the ICU is on in full swing and would be ready by this (Tuesday) evening,” said Thakur. The superintendent said the patients are largely being rushed here from the adjoining districts. The time consumed in bringing ailing children from adjacent districts to SKMCH, Muzaffarpur, can be life threatening.
Encephalitis experts from the Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, US, James Xavier and John D. Thomas have repeatedly requested senior health functionaries to make arrangements for treatment at their local places.
SKMCH officials are trying to set up ICU beds following the rise in number of patients belonging to bordering districts.
Deepak Kumar stressed on adoption of the Muzaffarpur model of treatment and sensitisation of parents about the disease.
Muzaffarpur DM Anupam Kumar too has requested his counterparts of adjacent districts to provide him a helping hand by making arrangements for treatment in their districts themselves.