Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is suspected to have claimed the lives of 451 children, mostly between 1-5 years, in UP in ten months. A fact-finding team of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) visited East UP in November 2011 to judge measures taken to protect children from killer Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and AES.
Yogesh Dube, leading the team, expressed his dissatisfaction over the action taken by the state to deal with and prevent AES cases. The NCPCR in its report pulled up the state government for its failure.
In a letter to Sanjay Agarwal, principal secretary, health and family welfare, BK Sahu, registrar of NCPCR, said, "The team found that the health department was unprepared. Health services and sanitation in villages was pathetic."
Health and family welfare minister, Ahmed Hasan said, "The health department has planned to organise a vaccination programme in Gorakhpur, Basti, Devipatan and Lucknow from December 1 to 31 for protection from JE/AES. Children in the age group of 1.5 years - 15 years will be vaccinated."
Chief medical officers have been directed to supervise and send a report to the health directorate.
The State Women Welfare and Child Development department has also planned to launch the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in forty-one worst-affected districts to protect children from malnutrition and pregnant women from anaemia.
Even after running four phases of the scheme, the desirable result remained a distant dream. Almost 52% of children under three years are undernourished. The infant mortality rate in UP was highest at 768/1000 live births.