The announcement of a slew of measures to tackle Japanese encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome ( AES) by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Gorakhpur on Wednesday is likely to set in motion a plan to eradicate the diseases, which kill people in hundreds every year, in the region.
“The announcement to establish a separate 500-bed ward for the children infected with JE/ AES will go a long way in helping thousands of sufferers,” said a resident adding a proposal to this effect had been pending for last 10 years.
Though there have been many high-profile visits to Gorakhpur, none of the chief ministers have visited the district in the recent past to address the issue.
This is when thousands of children have died of JE/AES in last 33 years. This year alone, the dreaded disease has claimed the life of 481 children.
People are also happy about the CM’s announcement of renewal of compensation to JE-victims. The previous SP government had announced the payment of compensation to the victims but the Mayawati government had stopped the aid in 2007.
“Children infected with JE/ AES virus died due to lack of medical facilities in government hospitals. Those who survived became handicapped. Though the SP government had launched a scheme for the rehabilitation of the disabled children in 2004, the region still awaits for a rehabilitation centre,” said an activist hoping the rehabilitation process would begin soon.
“We have already shot off a letter to the chief medical officers (CMOs) of all the districts to identify the disabled children so that the rehabilitation process and giving of Rs 1 lakh compensation could start soon,” confirmed a health department official.
“We also plan to hold vaccination camps in Gorakhpur, Basti, Devipatan and Lucknow divisions in December,” said health and family welfare minister Ahmed Hasan before leaving for Delhi on Wednesday.
He would be meeting union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in New Delhi.
“We would remind the central government about the assistance it has promised to the state and urge it to send team to the JE/AES infested districts to assess the situation,” he added.