Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare met the Health Minister of Bihar Shri Mangal Pandey at Nirman Bhawan, here today. The two Ministers discussed the reported rise in cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) from Muzaffarpur and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) from Gaya in Bihar. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MOS (HFW) and Ms Preeti Sudan, Health Secretary were also present during the meeting.
Dr Harsh Vardhan suggested that there is an urgent need for mounting extensive awareness campaigns, especially in the high case districts, so that the parents, caregivers and the community, in general, are sensitized to the need for taking the children for timely treatment to the nearby PHC before the child gets critical."Timely identification of the symptoms of hypoglycemia shall hugely contribute to timely and effective treatment. The children should be brought to the PHC as soon as these symptoms are noticed", he advised.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also suggested that as the cases are from some defined areas in the high load districts, the State should also involve other stakeholders like IMA, NGOs, etc., for widespread awareness and education campaigns. He suggested to actively involve the district administration and to make every Dy. The collector in charge of one tehsil each to actively monitor and ensure that no child reaches a critical condition, and that they are taken to the nearest PHC. He stressed upon the importance of sturdy mechanisms for monitoring and surveillance.
The Union Health Minister stated that he and senior officers of the Ministry are regularly reviewing the situation and assured all support and assistance to the Health Minister, Bihar in further strengthening the surveillance mechanisms. The multi-disciplinary team from the Centre is stationed there and has been supporting the state government management of these cases. He also suggested that the number of paediatricians in the SKMC hospital is augmented for effective treatment of these cases.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also stated that food distribution to all children through the ICDS Anganwadi centres and hot meals distribution through NGOs, etc., shall help in boosting the nutrition levels of children in these districts.
(With Inputs from PIB)