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UP gears up to deal with encephalitis


Lucknow : Unhappy with the tardy progress in initiatives to deal with the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in the eastern districts of Uttar Pradesh, the government has fixed time lines for completion of pending projects, an official said Saturday.

At a high-level meeting, Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani directed officials to ensure that a paediatric intensive care unit (ICU) was established on a turn-key basis and becomes functional by July 15.

The top bureaucrat also directed health officials to complete vaccination of 30 lakh people by June and warned officials to ensure that the 100-bed encephalitis ward at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur was completed as per milestones set by the government.

The government also set time lines for the construction of 1.80 lakh toilets.

Usmani said that prevention of JE and other strains of encephalitis was a priority for the state government.

Hundreds of people in seven districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh have died in the last two years because of JE and other strains of encephalitis.

The state government, soon after being sworn in last year, had promised sustained action against the killer disease, and had undertaken many initiatives, but with little success.

The number of deaths in 2012 was almost the same as in 2010-11, when the union health ministry had described the disease as being akin to an epidemic.

Some serious efforts, officials told IANS, were hampered by delays in the construction of an additional ward at the Gorakhpur Medical College and in purchase of ventilators.

The incidence of JE spikes with the onset of the monsoon in eastern UP, as the disease is caused by a mosquito-borne virus. Mortality is especially high in children.