BHUBANESWAR: The State BJP on Sunday claimed that Japanese Encephalitis (JE) has taken the life of more than 75 children in the backward and tribal-dominated Malkangiri district.
Even as the Malkangiri district administration put the death figure at 43, senior BJP leader and former minister Surama Padhi told reporters here that the number will be more than 75.
A member of the BJP fact-finding team that visited some affected villages of the district on Friday, Padhi held the State Government responsible for the alarming spread of the disease in the tribal-dominated district.
Alleging that many cases of children death were deliberately not taken into account, Padhi said the State Government is trying to cover up its failure by explaining that all cases are not due to the vector-borne disease.
After visiting Palkonda village of Korukonda block and Kaimetla villages of Kalimela block, the BJP team said the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) at Malkangir has only one child specialist while three more doctors have been mobilised from MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur.
While the disease has taken epidemic proportion, four doctors are too inadequate to handle the large number of cases being reported to the DHH everyday, she added.
Padhi further said only seven doctors are in position at the DHH while the sanctioned strength of the hospital is 33. The district has only 52 doctors as against a sanctioned strength of 115.
While the State Government is claiming to have provided 50,000 mosquito nets to the district, Padhi said the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) of Malkangiri district told the BJP team that the district administration is yet to get mosquito net from the Government.
The district administration has so far distributed 3,000 mosquito nets under the National Health Mission (NHM) through local purchase.
Holding the State Government responsible for the present situation, Padhi said though the disease had been surfacing at intervals in the backward district since 2011, the Naveen Patnaik Government has not taken any concrete step to prevent its recurrence.
The Government has not only failed to arrange vaccines in time but also unable to check spread of the disease which has claimed so many lives, she said.