WITH THE death toll due to Japanese Encephalitis mounting to 32 in the last 27 months in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, former Congress MP Pradeep Majhi Wednesday demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family of each victim and vaccination for all children in the district.
The toll rose to 32 Wednesday as Swati Matam of Sindhikela and Saraswati Kumbhar of Pitakata village died in the last 12 hours.
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Majhi, a former MP of Nabarangpur, staged a dharna with the bodies of the two children outside the collector’s residence demanding compensation and JE vaccination for all children of the district. He also demanded that the ailing children in 25 affected villages be shifted to AIIMS in Delhi.
“This is not the first time that children have died of JE in Malkangiri. But, this year, the state government has totally failed to reach the children in the affected villages with the vaccine,” he said.
Odisha health secretary Arati Ahuja, who visited Malkangiri, said there was no particular treatment for JE and shifting the ailing children was not possible. “Treatment of the ailing children was delayed as their parents took them to quacks for treatment,” she said. Till date, 32 children have died and 67 children have been affected by JE and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. “Of the 32 dead, 17 were due to JE while the rest died of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome,” Ahuja added.
The health secretary further said that random sampling of the blood of 21 pigs found that 14 of them carried the JE virus. “We have decided to isolate the pigs by constructing enclosures 2.5-3 km away from the villages. The district administration will construct the enclosures under MNREGA. Villagers will be deployed to guard these pig pens.”
Ahuja further stated that 50,000 mosquito nets have been distributed in the affected villages and regular fogging is being. Collector K Sudershan Chakervarthi has cancelled Dussehra holidays of government employees in view of the situation.