As Acute Encephalitis Syndrome(AES) toll rose to 108 and fresh admissions continue at Muzaffarpur’s SK Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi visited the hospital on Tuesday. The hospital alone has reported 87 deaths since June 1. Several patients’ relatives, who were not allowed to enter the hospital, shouted slogans against the CM. Nitish returned to Patna without taking any media queries.
Total AES admissions at SKMCH is at 352 while at Kejriwal Matrisadan, another hospital in Muzaffarpur , is at 144. Total 162 patients are under treatment for AES at both hospitals.
Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar later told reporters in Patna that the CM was satisfied with medical facilities at SKMCH. Nitish also ordered 24-hour availability of doctors to deal with emergency situation, the chief secretary added.
A press release from the state government stated that after holding a review meeting with SKMCH administration, Nitish ordered an increase in SKMCH capacity from 600-bed to 1,500-bed in the first phase and 2,500-bed subsequently.
Nitish has also ordered study of socio-economic profile of families of the AES victims and sanitation status of the affected areas. The CM said: “Let us study income and overall economic status of the family of each victim, their nutrition status and sanitation around the areas. We also have to find out if the affected areas are open defecation free. We may well find a long- term solution to the problem”.
Some relatives of AES patients blamed lack of medical services at the hospital. Jitendra Kumar, a Kanti resident whose nephew has been admitted at the hospital, said: “Since the CM visited the hospital, the hospital management had been trying to show that everything is alright. But the hospital’s response has been tepid”.
A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking direction to the Centre to urgently constitute a team of medical experts for treatment of the children.