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Gogoi reviews encephalitis steps

Guwahati, July 23: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today reviewed the health scenario in the state with Japanese encephalitis (JE) and acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) claiming 59 and 167 lives respectively in Assam so far.

Gogoi directed health officials to conduct awareness campaigns by involving panchayats, to intensify measures to control the diseases from spreading to newer areas and carry out intensive fogging in the affected areas and localities situated close to them.

The directive came as another person, Chitra Rabha, 45, died of the disease at Singra-Palahapara village under Boko police station in Kamrup district last night, taking the toll from the disease to four in the village.

Gogoi directed the health officials to ensure that there is no shortage of medicines in district hospitals and other health centres. “The required medicines, especially lifesaving drugs, should be procured and made available to all the health centres immediately. Speedy treatment is an absolute necessity to save precious lives. Funds will be no constraint in tackling the situation,” he said.

He instructed health authorities to chalk out a comprehensive action plan to control the spread of Japanese encephalitis and acute encephalitis syndrome, including setting up of an intensive care unit in each district hospital for treatment of emergency cases and laboratory testing units in the 14 districts (out of 27) that do not have such centres. He directed them to procure laboratory-testing kits for quick diagnosis of cases without delay.

He also directed senior officials of the state public health engineering department to speed up work to convert shallow tubewells into deep tubewells, especially in the affected areas, to bring down the high incidence of acute encephalitis syndrome cases.

“Proper mapping of the areas where water-borne diseases are acute must be carried out by the PHED and measures should be taken up to provide clean drinking water to arrest the incidence of AES cases,” he added. Gogoi also asked officials to expedite the process of establishing Assam state health corporation. The proposal will be placed before the cabinet soon.

In Assam, acute encephalitis syndrome accounts for 60 per cent cases covering 24 districts while Japanese encephalitis accounts for 40 per cent. The total number of AES and positive JE cases have reached 1,043 and 364 respectively. This year, Japanese encephalitis has been more prevalent in the lower Assam districts.