Bihar: Health minister faces protest as toll rises to 91; CM Nitish Kumar announces aid

Patients’ relatives complained to the Union Health Minister about lack of facilities and ill-response from doctors and nurses.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday visited the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, where the death toll of children suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has climbed to 91.

The Union Minister, who faced protests from the relatives of patients, has assured that a 100-bed children ward would be set up at SKMCH. During his visit, supporters of Jan Adhikar Party waved black flags at the Union Minister.

Since January 1, 358 children with AES have been admitted to SKMCH and Kejriwal Matrisadan. A total of 108 patients are currently undergoing treatment at the two hospitals for the condition.

“A 100-bed paediatric ward would be constructed at SKMCH and a branch of Patna’s virology laboratory would be opened at SKMCH,” Vardhan said. He added that all the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) of Muzaffarpur would have a 10-bed children’s ward. “Since most deaths are reported because of low blood sugar levels, all PHCs would also have glucometers,” he said.

Patients’ relatives complained to the Union Health Minister about lack of facilities and ill-response from doctors and nurses.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh for each of the children killed in the outbreak. He has also directed officials of the Health department, the district administration and doctors to take all possible measures to tackle the situation.

Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar had said a few days ago that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts, especially in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran.

Meanwhile, extreme heat in the state has so far claimed 42 lives across from Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada. The state government has announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin.

Source: The Indian Express

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