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Nitish Kumar calls Bihar AES deaths ‘unfortunate,’ says expressing grief not enough

The Nitish Kumar government has been under fire after over 150 children lost their lives in the state due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
July 1, 2019 1:38:24 pm
Nitish Kumar calls Bihar AES deaths 'unfortunate,' says expressing grief not enough Admitting that most hospitals in the state did not have adequate facilities to treat patients, Kumar said that the government is undertaking measures to ensure cure as well as prevention of the infection.

Breaking his silence on the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday called it an “extremely unfortunate and serious issue.” Addressing the Bihar Assembly, the CM said, “What happened is extremely unfortunate, expressing grief is not enough.”

The Nitish Kumar government has been under fire after over 150 children lost their lives in the state due to AES.

Adding that the government is doing everything possible, the CM said, “We have held several meetings and discussed the issue at length. I held a meeting at AIIMS Patna in 2015 and various experts had different views as to what is the reason for it. A report was even sent to the US to get an expert opinion on it and all had different views.”

Read | Behind AES toll: Poor nutrition, underutilised rehabilitation centres in Bihar

Admitting that most hospitals in the state did not have adequate facilities to treat patients, Kumar said that the government is undertaking measures to ensure cure as well as prevention of the infection.

Health Minister Mangal Pandey said the death rate due to AES has reduced over the past years. He also added that awareness programs were carried out in order to inform the citizens about the infection. “According to the data we’ve, till June 28, 720 were admitted, 586 were cured, and 154 children died. Death rate reduced to 21 per cent. According to data from 2011-19, the death rate due to AES has reduced over the past few years,” he told the Assembly, reported news agency ANI.

Opinion | A doctor writes: Why it is important for Bihar health minister to be sacked and tried for negligence

A fact-finding team of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has blamed administrative failure and state’s apathy for deaths of children. The summary of the report pointed out that all the children aged between 1.5- 12 years who died in this epidemic, belonged exclusively to families of lower socioeconomic strata.

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