The state government will on Thursday launch a vaccination campaign in 38 sensitive districts of the state to combat Japanese Encephalitis (JE), a disease that has been claiming hundreds of lives each year. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has raised the issue in Parliament before, will launch the campaign from Kushinagar district on Thursday. The drive will go on till June 11, and children up to the age of 15 years will be the focus. According to the state Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh, the campaign will be restarted in four districts — Bahraich, Balrampur, Sitapur and Shrawasti — along with 34 other districts including those from eastern and western UP. “A public awareness campaign will also be started with the vaccination process, where people will be encouraged to vaccinate their children,” he said.
Several ministers have been given charge of different districts to launch the vaccination campaign. Many centres have been set up where over 88 lakh children will be vaccinated, said Singh. For maximum reach, these centres have been established in schools, aanganwadi centres, slum areas and minority and backward areas. The health minister told mediapersons the situation was very critical, and many more children were dying due to the disease. Some 40,000 children have died of the disease in the past four decades in the region, said a PTI report.
Though vaccines are available for Japanese Encephalitis, there is no vaccine for checking Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and better hygiene is the only way to ward it off, Singh added. About 85 per cent cases of Japanese Encephalitis and AES are reported among Dalits and minorities, he further said, according to PTI.