An expert committee has found lacunae in the existing system of identification and treatment of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome cases (AES) in eastern UP leading to a large number of deaths.
The 10-member committee,chaired by Andhra Pradesh-based paediatric neurologist Nagabhushana Rao Potharaju,met in Gorakhpur this week and decided to submit its final report with recommendations to state government by February 28,2014.
We will submit our report with recommended standard treatment protocol by February 28 next year giving enough time to the state government to prepare for the next season, said Pritu Dhalaria,the convenor of the committee formed by the state government earlier this month.
The committee,tasked with suggesting ways to minimise encephalitis deaths in the high-risk zone covering seven districts in Gorakhpur and Basti Division,identified three major lacunae in the system.
It was found that there was unnecessary referral of cases to BRD Medical College,Gorakhpur,which could be avoided.
Also,the primary and community health centres are not aware about treatment protocol for AES patients and thus rather than concentrating on simple clinical methods,refer the patients further. It was also found that due to lack of awareness,people fail to identify AES cases from routine viral cases and thus visit village-level quacks till the situation goes out of hand.
During the discussion,it was suggested that standard treatment protocol should be prepared for each level including Primary Health Centre,Community Heath Centre and District Hospital,which should be displayed outside every health unit in the high-risk zones.
Even if doctor or the trained staff are transferred,these standard but simple clinical treatment methods can save many lives and add to general awareness, said Dhalaria.
The next meeting of the expert committee has been called in January by when a draft treatment protocol would be prepared for discussion.
The committee members include KP Kushwaha,professor of paediatric and also Principal of BRD medical College,Gorakhpur; Milind Gore,in-charge of field laboratory of National Institute of Virology,Pune in Gorakhpur and BK Raina,consultant National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.