Encephalitis death toll reaches 165 in Assam
Guwahati: A total of 165 persons have lost their lives in Assam due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), prompting chief minister Tarun Gogoi to call an emergency meeting with health officials on Wednesday.
According to an official release, Gogoi held an emergency meeting to review the health scenario with senior officials in the backdrop of outbreak of JE and AES. “Reviewing the health scenario in the backdrop of growing incidence of JE and AES in the state which has claimed 165 lives so far, chief minister Gogoi directed the health authorities to gear up on war-footing to control the diseases from spreading to newer areas,” the release said.
While AES accounted for 60% of the cases covering 24 districts this year, JE was responsible for 40% of the cases in mainly lower Assam districts, it said. Gogoi asked the officials to make a comprehensive action plan to control JE and AES, including setting up of an intensive care unit (ICU) in each district hospital for treatment of emergency cases along with and laboratory testing units, the release said.
He directed the health officials to procure laboratory testing kits for quick diagnosis of cases and also to carry out intensive fogging in the affected and nearby areas and also conduct awareness campaigns by involving the panchayats.
The chief minister directed the officials to ensure adequate supply of vaccine and medicine to big hospitals, district hospitals and other health centres. “Ensure that there is no shortage of medicine. Procure the required medicine, specially life saving drugs and make them available at all health centres immediately. Speedy treatment must be ensured to save precious lives. Funds would be no constraints in tackling the situation,” he added.
Gogoi directed senior officials of the public health engineering department (PHED) to speed up the conversion work of shallow tube wells into deep tube wells, specially in affected areas to bring down the cases of AES disease.
“Proper mapping of areas where water-borne diseases are acute, must be carried out by the PHED and necessary measures be taken up to provide clean drinking water to arrest the incidence of AES cases,” he said and further directed the health officials to expedite the process for setting up the Assam State Health Corporation. “The health officials apprised the chief minister that the process is on and the proposal will be placed in the Cabinet soon,” the statement said.
The meeting was attended by chief secretary Jitesh Khosla, principal secretary to chief minister M.G.V.K. Bhanu, principal secretary for health and family welfare Sanjeeva Kumar, National Rural Health Mission managing director Manish Thakur and other senior officials of the PHED.