Encephalitis is a life threatening disease causing acute inflammation of the brain. A person afflicted with encephalitis requires serious medical attention.
Cause– This disease can occur to people of any age group but children and elderly are more likely to be afflicted with the disease. It is caused due to bacterial infection, parasites or may be prompted by other infectious diseases. Encephalitis is a non-communicable disease. Japanese Encephalitis is a big problem in Uttar Pradesh. It has killed thousands of children in last 30 years. According to WHO, Japanese Encephalitis affects children and it is caused by a mosquito-borne flavivirus.
Last year we all saw in news, 60+ children died in a hospital in Gorakhpur because of Encephalitis. But it’s incorrect to assume that Encephalitis is present only in Gorakhpur. Encephalitis cases are coming from various parts of India and UP. Gorakhpur is the center point because in this whole area there is one hospital where treatment for Encephalitis is available and patients from many neighboring districts are coming here for treatment. It is the only hospital in a 300 sq. km patch of land to have decent facilities to treat these diseases.
Monsoon in Gorakhpur seldom brings cheer. For the past 30 years, 1000s of children are dying rains of encephalitis in the season of Monsoon. Last government was very incapable if we talk about the measures taken by Akhilesh Yadav for the eradication of Encephalitis. The number of deaths stood at 5850 in 2014, 6917 in 2015 and 6121 in 2016. In the name of eradication, this JEV Akhilesh started few extra ambulances, added few extra beds in the BRD hospital. He announced a separate hospital in Gorakhpur in 2012 for JEV but it is still far away from completion. He was busier in roads, Metros and other projects but ignored the basic problems like this. Because only the poor class was suffering from JEV. There were very few vaccination campaigns during his tenure for Encephalitis but none of the campaigns made any significant progress because they didn’t monitor them properly. Instead of fulfilling his promise of eradication of Encephalitis he announced the compensation of 50,000 Rupees to those who lose their children to this killer disease. A lakh would be given to the survivors who are permanently disabled. And even this was a total failure because in 2016 only 8 got compensation. So less than 1% patients got the compensation in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The BRD College has been pleading with the government for a decade now for the need for a special unit to deal with encephalitis cases. Even though the government is aware that the patients from neighboring states and even countries like Nepal visit the facility for treatments, but it has hardly made the government feel responsible enough to allocate funds to battle the disease. There is a shortage of doctors, nurses and other medical staff. Last year the encephalitis ward at BRDMC was run entirely by students from other medical colleges across the state. Even land required to set up special care units for encephalitis has not been provided, with no real measure to curb the incidents
Cases of Encephalitis can be reduced to significant numbers by providing a clean environment. That’s where Yogi is making an impact. After the Yogi government took charge, an awareness and public participation campaigns were launched in May 2017 in 38 districts that are considered to be the worst-hit regions. The drive was supposed to cover over 88 lakh children, for which the Centre provided 1 crore vaccines. He started clean drives in all the villages affected by Encephalitis. He started a vaccination drive named DASTAK with the help of UNICEF and UNICEF is praising Yogi Government’s efforts.
A detailed programme has been prepared to combat Encephalitis. Facilities at BRD hospital has been improved According to Govt. officials, the vaccination work will be completed by April 2018. Awareness camps are in place to make people aware to keep their surroundings clean. The educational institutions, as well as NGOs, have joined hands. Mal-nourishment is another cause of the spread of this disease. Therefore, to make sure that pregnant women, lactating mothers, and infants are getting nutritious food, aanganwadi workers also involved in this work. The school children are also getting educated about this dreaded disease.