The Telegraph
Tuesday , June 24 , 2014
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Govt struggles with JE vaccination target

The health department is sweating it out to accomplish the target of immunising 92,200 children with Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccines.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had launched a two-day JE vaccination special drive on June 22 from a primary health centre in Kanti block.

Harsh Vardhan in a chat with health functionaries reminded them not to take the JE vaccination drive casually and asked them to execute it honestly.

The JE vaccination is not a cure for acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) but it will certainly help in mitigating the threat of the virus to the vulnerable.

The health department is trying hard to achieve the target of immunising children hailing from villages that have witnessed AES in the past.

Last year, the two-day special drive had begun on September 19 but failed miserably to achieve the desired goal.

“This had raised many eyebrows,” said a doctor posted at the Kanti PHC.

He added that there has been complete slackness and lethargy on the part of doctors, auxiliary nurse midwife (ANMs), deputed at the PHCs. “Even the district health authorities were casual about the JE vaccination,” he said.

“This year, the Accredited Social Health Activists, ANMs and anganwadi sevikas have been involved in huge numbers to mobilise children aged between nine months and 15 years to the nearby PHCs and additional PHCs for the JE vaccination,” said chief medical officer Gyan Bhushan.

District immunisation officer Dineshwar Singh said the health department is burning the midnight oil to immunise 92,200 children.

Singh, however, added: “A lot more is yet to be achieved. Not many immunisations were possible on the first day of the drive because of the inspection of the Union health minister. Because of the visit, most officials remained on their toes.”

Health officials are now involved in monitoring the drive and it would continue on June 24 as well because of lack of desired recovery.

District magistrate Anupam Kumar said he has reviewed the preparedness for the vaccination drive and has directed health authorities to keep open a centre for the purpose at the government sadar hospital.

Principal health secretary Deepak Kumar, who was accompanied by Harsh Vardhan on June 22, asked the district health authorities to achieve cent per cent target of the JE vaccination.

Thereafter, the vaccination would be incorporated in the routine immunisation programme from the age of day-I to five years.

As the situation stood on Friday, the threat of AES has diminished.

Superintendent of Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital G.K. Thakur said in the past 24 hours, seven new cases of AES have come to the health hub.

The number of total admissions related to AES reached 735. More than 130 children have died during the course of treatment, said a press note of the district public relations officer.

Panic strikes

Children with syndromes of viral fever have created panic here particularly after the death of one boy at a hospital in Bhagalpur on June 18 with the symptom of AES.

R.K. Sinha, the head of the paediatrics department of JLNMC-Bhagalpur, said: “Since no anti-virus to counter the disease has been invented, it is very difficult to provide actual treatment to such patients.”

Fresh cases

Four patients with AES have been admitted in Gaya’s Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital since late Sunday evening.

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