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Long War Against Encephalitis But Yogi Government Continues Winning Battles; 66 Per Cent Drop In Deaths In East UP

Author: Swarajya Staff
Publication: Swarajyamag.com
Date: February 19, 2019
URL:   https://swarajyamag.com/insta/long-war-against-encephalitis-but-yogi-government-continues-winning-battles-66-per-cent-drop-in-deaths-in-east-up

Thanks to massive efforts launched by the Yogi Adityanath government to combat the Encephalitis Scourge, deaths due to the deadly epidemic dramatically dropped by 66 per cent in the 14 most-affected East Uttar Pradesh districts in 2018, Economic Times reported.

The ET report quoted UP’s Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh as informing the state assembly that 187 people died due to encephalitis in 2018 as against 553 such deaths that occurred in 2017. The number of encephalitis cases reported in 14 most affected districts of Eastern UP significantly dropped from 3817 in year 2017 to 2043 cases last year.

The UP health minister said that doctors were able to save more patients compared to total admissions.

While every seventh patient admitted for encephalitis died during treatment in 2017, the casualty rate declined to every eleventh patient in 2018. The Minister also added that till 11 February 2019, no person has died due to encephalitis out of the reported 35 cases.

The UP government has credited measures like early vaccination, segregating pigs from affected habitation, immediate response teams for fogging to stop outbreak, convincing parents to not let their kids sleep on the mud floor, drinking water from a ‘India Mark-2’ tap or hand pump, and calling the 108 ambulance helpline immediately if they find any symptoms as having helped in reducing the death toll.

Just months following his elevation as UP Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath faced strident criticism after a horrific tragedy when scores of children died within hours of admission at a state-run Gorakhpur hospital unfolded in Uttar Pradesh.

Combating encephalitis has been a top agenda for Yogi Adityanath. The epidemic hits this laggard and most backward region of an already underdeveloped state with a particular fury.

The five-time member of Parliament from Gorakhpur has been raising the issue in parliament since 1998 and made it one of his poll promises in the run up to Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

Keeping his commitment, Yogi Adityanath acted early and carried out a mass JE vaccination drive in 38 districts from mid-June to mid-July, just before monsoon. Around 88 lakh children were identified. The government claims it achieved its target.

The Dastak Campaign launched by the Yogi Adityanath government in February has resulted in vaccination of every child against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (ASE) in 38 affected districts of Uttar Pradesh.

According to reports, teams formed by the government went door to door in JE and AES affected district. These districts, mostly in the eastern part of the state, account for 60 per cent of total cases reported in the country.

Dastak campaign by the Yogi government won the appreciation of UNICEF.
 A big shout out to #UttarPradesh for immunizing every child in the state against Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome under the #Dastak campaign! 👏#VaccinesWork for #DimagiBukharSeJung#EveryChildALIVE #WorldImmunizationWeek @CMOfficeUP @MoHFW_INDIA
4:23 PM - Apr 25, 2018

"Vaccination should be completed by March-April and special emphasis should be on sanitation and cleanliness drive in villages by creating awareness among people. Help of educational institutes and self-help organisations should also be taken for this," Chief Minister Adityanath had said wile launching the campaign.

A staggering 10,000 children have died of encephalitis since 1978. It was the year when the epidemic, that hits children below 10 years of age in 85 per cent of the cases, was first documented in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

In India, there are four states where JE is endemic: UP, Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. In 2016, UP contributed 25.5 per cent of JE deaths. The last outbreak in UP was in 2005. The centre of the outbreak was Gorakhpur. As many as 5,737 persons were affected by the disease in seven districts of eastern UP and 1,344 people died.

JE is a viral disease that is transmitted by the infective bite of the Culex species of mosquitoes. The infection can lead to high fever, headache, stiffness in muscles, seizures, coma, and, in worst cases, untimely death. It primarily affects children because of their weaker immune systems.
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