PATNA: Bihar facing a major outbreak of viral fever akin to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in many districts has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangalore based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience(NIMHANS) to get technical support in fighting against the disease. The MoU will help the Bihar Health Department to enhance capacity for surveillance as well as laboratory testing methods for the common AES pathogens in the state.
According to an official statement issued on Saturday here, the NIMHANS will render technical support to the state health department for enhancing a ‘tiered network’ of laboratories to provide diagnostic support over the disease. The MoU was signed on Saturday with the objective to Establish Enhanced Surveillance for Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in the state.
According to principal secretary of health department Sanjay Kumar, this would be a non-financial MoU of its kind to combat this kind of viral outbreak, which occurs mostly during the peak of summer time with effect from February 15 to 30 September in 2020.
Kumar said: “The NIMHANS team will support the health department of Bihar in strengthening a network of Level-1 laboratories for AES in district hospital and establish a Level-2 laboratory at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital or Patna Medical College and Hospital for the condition”.
The NIMHANS along with the CARE India will take final decision for the establishment of Level-2 Laboratories for AES after conducting gap analysis and also conduct training workshops and orientation for identified hospitals wherein patients of disease akin to AES are normally admitted in districts affected.
“The doctors, nurses ,technicians and other personnel of hospitals would be trained on all medical activities including the processing samples on AES by the experts of NIMHANS and the CARE India in Bihar”, Kumar said.
In 2019, more than 161 children as per official figure had died in Muzaffarpur and other adjoining districts of North Bihar with syndrome developed akin to AES. A total of 647 cases of suspected AES outbreak were reported in hospitals including SKMCH in Muzaffarpur and other districts between June 1 and September 20 in 2019 with reported deaths of 161.
Alarmed at the deaths during the AES outbreak, CM Bihar Nitish Kumar had visited the SKMCH besides union health minister Harshvardhan. Harvardhan alarmed at the outbreak had announced to set up a special-100-bed paediatric ward at SKMCH as well as five virology laboratories in Bihar to tame such a deadly outbreak during the summer time. The National Human Rights Commission had also served notices to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Bihar government over the death of children in such a huge number.