Despite large scale planning and opening of 104 Encephalitis Treatment Centres across eastern UP, number of encephalitis cases and deaths have increased this year as compared to those reported in October last year.
A total of 1,558 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have been reported so far this year with 435 children succumbing to the disease. These include 84 Japanese Encephalitis cases and 20 deaths.
But BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur confirmed that around same time in October last year, less number of cases and deaths — 1,300 and 390, respectively — were reported.
The state government had set up a Group of Experts on Encephalitis, led by P Nagabhushana Rao, last year. Based on the experts’ advice, 104 Encephalitis Treatment Centres in seven districts of eastern UP were opened to ensure early treatment to the patients. Oxygen supply, appointment of additional doctors and maintaining a stock of medicine required for symptomatic treatment of encephalitis at these centres were some of the steps undertaken.
Failing to understand the rise despite taking special initiatives, experts and health officials began tracing back the cases to know the causes and lacunae.
“The number of cases have increased this year and we are ensuring treatment of all those who are coming to BRD Medical college. On the clinical side, the type of cases are the same as in the past,” said K P Kushwaha, Principal, BRD Medical College and also a paediatric expert.
Asked about the reasons for the rise and findings, Pritu Dhalaria, convenor of the expert group formed by the government, said, “We are trying to trace back the cases to know the truth and reasons because all the preparations were done. So far we have been able to identify the failure to ensure early field referral as one of the main lacunae. ASHA workers were trained but they need to be made more accountable for early identification and referral of cases, because once the brain damage starts, it becomes difficult to repair it.”
Sources inform that the state government is now planning to launch a campaign to bring “Behaviour Change in Community (BCC)”. A special animated documentary has been made highlighting the need for early referral of cases and hygiene.