PATNA: 45-year-old Mohani Devi at Panapur panchayat of Bihar's Muzaffarpur district is confident this year that the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in her panchayat will not be possible this year. She had lost her a minor daughter in 2019 in the outbreak of AES.
Her confidence lies in the fact that her panchayat has been adopted by none other than district magistrate of Muzaffarpur Dr Chandra Sekhar Singh to take care of it in particular.
Muzaffarpur's different panchayats fall in the grip of AES disease since 1997 and hundreds of children have lost their lives in these areas so far. In a first this year, 196 officials of the district, led by the DM, have adopted a panchayat for each one, including the ones where cases of AES were reported in 2019.
All officials have started visiting and making all efforts, prior to the suspected outbreak of AES in mass, to prevent the disease. The door-to-door meeting with the residents of affected panchayats adopted by officials has been started alongwith awareness drives launched across the district on large scale.
According to Dr Singh, Dariyapur village of Panapur panchayat, which he adopted, had a detailed discussion on the viral fever with symptoms akin to AES, which is colloquially called as "chamki bukhar"in local parlance.
"Villagers are being educated on preventive measures by health personnel and officials of district in a bid to prevent the outbreak as well as its casualty in total," the DM said adding that special ambulances have been made available by the state government to deal with the situation if arises ahead.
Recently,18 new ambulances were flagged off by health minister from Patna to four chamki fever affected districts including 9 for Muzaffarpur alone. The district control room on toll free number has already been set up besides on active land line numbers for monitoring the disease ahead in no time.
Besides this collective initiative, sanitization drives and anti-larva spray besides fogging are being done regularly on a war footing in the district, which remains an epicentre of AES cases every year.
Micro-planning has been also made for the coming days for the effective control of chamki fever and 689 ANMs in addition to women supervisors and ASHA workers have been trained on the prevention of AES recently.
"Wall writings have also been done at the health centres and in all government buildings, which are located in the mahadalit tollas to protect against the fever because only right information and timely action can save children from this epidemic," said a senior health official anonymously.
At SKMCH, a new 100-bed pediatrics intensive care unit will be completed by April this year. In 2019, 161 children had died in outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining districts including Vaishali.
The cases of AES were reported from 200 panchayats of Muzaffarpur and other adjoining districts. In the last few days, three children were admitted in SKMCH with symptoms akin to AES and one of them had died.
Other districts which witness the outbreak of AES every year are East Champaran, Samastipur, Sitamarhi, Vaishali and Saran.