Even as a worried Uttar Pradesh government is combating the outbreak of encephalitis that has claimed 117 lives in the last one month in the eastern part of the state, the Gorakhpur administration is toying with homeopathy and fish to take on the killer disease.
According to highly-placed sources, a 'hate-ke' (different) proposal came from the divisional commissioner of Gorakhpur Ravindra Naik, who has sent in a detailed proposal, pitching for introduction of homeopathic treatments in Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES, saying that once cleared by the health department, the initiative could be taken up in a phased manner.
Talking to IANS, Naik said that he had read about homeopathy's "successful battle" against encephalitis in some AES afflicted districts of Andhra Pradesh and was keen that UP should also take it up. "These medicines are time tested and we plan to take it up intensively as it was done in the polio immunisation drive, door to door," said the divisional commissioner, adding that he hoped that the proposal would find favour with the state government.
Before sending the proposal to the Health Department a detailed study of the strains and conditions of the AES in the Gorakhpur division has also been done and the homeopathic experts have suggested that the disease could be "taken on" by "slow induction" of homeopathic medicines such as Baladona 100, 200 and Tuberculum. The homoeopathy doctors contend that if not in combating the disease post-contraction, it could be used successfully in prevention "in a big way."
The AES, including the deadly Japanese Encephalitis (JE), had claimed more than 600 lives in the last season and has started peaking "pre-season" in areas around Gorakhpur division. Though no case of JE has been detected so far, AES deaths have been reported from Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria and Maharajganj.
Other than this the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) has also sanctioned a budget of Rs.39 lakh to buy 'seeds' of the larvae gobbling Gambusia fish. These fish, which eat up the mosquito larvae, will soon be imported by the UP Fisheries department from Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Having been successfully used in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh in the past, NHRM Mission director Mukesh Kumar Meshram says "it is a good bet" to take on the encephalitis menace.
The fish seeds would be bred in Fisheries Department tanks and then distributed to 20 districts like Basti, Gorakhpur, Gonda, Maharajganj and others.
Other than this, the government is also engaging the allopathic medicinal way to tackle the epidemic. While four ventilators were issued by the government and a special 100-bed hospital was constructed at a cost of Rs.18 crore for AES patients last year, this year the government has already ordered the purchase of 124 ventilators by July.