Encephalitis death toll in Bihar touches 93, protests erupt in Muzaffarpur
The death toll due to encephalitis in Muzaffarpur mounted to 93 on Sunday with people creating a ruckus at a government-run hospital here while Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was visiting to take stock of the situation.
Those demonstrating alleged inadequate services by the hospital and negligence by politicians.
Vardhan, accompanied by his deputy Ashwini Choubey, visited Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) where 79 children have lost their lives. The central ministers, however, had to face public outrage as black flags were shown to their convoy.
A visibly distraught man, whose brother is admitted in the hospital, took off his shirt and protested against visits by political leaders and also alleged medical negligence.
“No one listens to us. Why do these politicians come here if they do not want to listen or care about us? Who made them leaders? We chose them and made them leaders. They are all thieves. Our children are dying. All leaders and the media pay a visit every day and then go. But no one thinks about us. My brother is admitted here. The management is not listening to us. What should I do? I’d rather prefer dying,” said the man.
In the wake of the deaths, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar yesterday announced an ex gratia of ₹4 lakh each to families of the children who died due to the disease. He has also given directions to the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures to fight the menace.
Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Saturday said that the state government is doing its best to save the children. Speaking to ANI, Pandey said doctors and nurses are being called in from Patna for additional help.
Earlier today, attendants of patients had also alleged unavailability of doctors at the hospital, while a girl had died while Vardhan was present at the institute.
At another hospital named Kejriwal Hospital, 14 deaths have been recorded due to encephalitis.
It is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches and has been claiming lives in the district for the past few weeks.