LUCKNOW: "Casual approach and red-tapism are the reasons behind encephalitis deaths in UP," concluded the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) after examining the measures taken by Uttar Pradesh government to save children from Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in eastern districts of the state.
"Whatever steps the government has taken, are nothing more than claims. Their plans have not moved an inch in the field. The commission feels that the approach has been quite casual on the count and is solely responsible for the death of the children. We will now review the progress on a quarterly basis," Yogesh Dube, member of NCPCR, who has been following encephalitis since October 2011 told TOI.
Dube went for a field visit to Gorakhpur and Kushinagar in the mid of September to take stock of the situation in the districts, member Yogesh Dube had said that the UP government has failed to check deaths due to Japanese encephalitis and acute encephalitis syndrome.
Annoyed over the situation, NCPCR issued summon to state government on September 18 and directed principal secretary health to appear before the commission and explain the measures taken by the government to check deaths due to JE and AES.
Principal secretary health JP Sharma along with other officials faced the commission on Wednesday (October 3). The officials submitted an elaborate presentation containing the steps taken by the UP government to save children from untimely death on account of encephalitis. This included providing ventilators to district hospitals in all the 10 affected districts and Baba Raghav Das Medical College (BRDMC), plying special ambulance service in the affected areas, strengthening primary and community health centres in the affected districts among others.
However, members of the NCPCR were dissatisfied over the measures taken. Dube told TOI, "The situation has not changed an inch since the last season. We can see four children sharing a bed in BRD Medical College and ill-equipped health facilities even now. The government's hasn't done anything concrete."
When asked to elaborate what he meant by a 'casual approach', he said, "UP government submitted proposals worth several crores [tens of milions of rupees], but the union health ministry found only two of them viable. One of the two proposals that were cleared included providing ventilators to hospitals in the affected area. But forget ventilators reaching the hospitals, the government has not been able to finalise the tender for procurement of ventilators. I feel that the life of children is caught in red-tapism."