Needed docs, drugs & dough to fight JE | india | Hindustan Times
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Needed docs, drugs & dough to fight JE

india Updated: Aug 09, 2006 01:44 IST
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BRD principal writes to Health Dept

IT’S BACK to square one on the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) front. Even as 59 children have fallen prey to the disease and another 50 are battling for life in the wards of BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, BRD MC principal OP Singh has shot off a letter to the Secretary Medical Education that there is scarcity of doctors, para-medical staff and fund to purchase life-saving drugs.

In his letter, Dr Singh said he has written to the Principal Secretary Medical Health and Family Welfare and DG Medical Health to depute 20 doctors, 20 staff nurses, 20 ward boys, 20 sweepers to run the encephalitis ward. Dr Singh further said that he has demanded Rs 30 lakh for the purchase of life-saving drugs and oxygen cylinders, but a mere Rs 8 lakh was sanctioned. 

Last year, JE claimed the lives of 1,593 children, as the disease spread its tentacles in 34 districts. It was decided that BRD Medical College would be developed as a center of excellence. Along with treatment of patients admitted to the Nehru Hospital attached to BRD Medical College, the college was to have a fully equipped laboratory for serum test and research.

But all promises remained on paper. If the government had established the virology laboratory, it would have been easy for the doctors to study whether patients are infected by the JE virus or another virus. Experts monitoring the outbreak of the disease say that rather than JE virus, Coxsackie virus was infecting vulnerable children.

On the direction of the DG Medical Health, a team of experts from the SGPGIMS visited Gorakhpur recently, to collect samples of the patients. Prof in Department of Medical Microbiology, SGPGIMS, Dr TN Dhole told the ‘Hindustan Times’ that laboratory tests of the samples would be conducted to identify the virus.

Former BRD Medical College Pediatrics Department Head and MLC Dr YD Singh says had the government established the virology research laboratory in the Medical College, the virus would have been identified earlier. The doctors would have saved precious lives by providing required treatment on time, he said.

Meanwhile, the Medical Health Department has prepared a work plan to control Japanese Encephalitis (JE). Along with controlling mosquitoes that are carriers of JE, the plan focused on shifting of piggeries, categorisation of sensitive areas, identification of patients, laboratory test of serum, vaccination of people and launch of awareness programmes among rural masses.

Except vaccination, all other programmes failed to take off. The Health Department has vaccinated around 68 lakh children in six districts, including Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Siddharthnagar and Kheri. But adverse impacts of JE vaccination have been reported on 54 children and nine have already died.