Bihar: Mounting encephalitis cases leads Health Ministry to set up permanent multi-disciplinary expert group

Day by day the tension for the state’s health is getting mounted due to the increasing number of encephalitis cases. Keeping this in mind, health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan chaired a meeting of a multi-disciplinary group of experts. The multi-disciplinary group discussed and deliberated on the factors causing high child mortality and further immediate measures to be taken up to prevent child mortality.

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In addition to senior officers from the Health Ministry, Ministry of Women and Child Development, experts from AIIMS, NCDC, ICMR, IAP, WHO and CDC were present at the meeting.

Subsequent to the meeting, the Union Minister stated: “In order to gain deeper knowledge into the factors causing high child mortality in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts of Bihar, where increased cases of AES/JE have been reported, the expert group met and deliberated at length today. We discussed the socio-economic profile of the households which have reported the reported cases, their nutrition profiles, issues such as the ongoing heatwave, reported a high percentage of hypoglycemia in the children who have died the prevailing health infrastructure in the district and other factors that could significantly be considered in these cases”.

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Measures to further strengthen the health infrastructure, need for an aggressive awareness campaign in the preceding months when these cases are reported in higher number in order to prevent these cases, need for strengthening the research base to provide sound knowledge on the causes of mortality, active collaboration between the State and Central governments with experts and researchers, were some of the issues taken up for detailed deliberation at the meeting.

During the meeting, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has instructed for a permanent multi-disciplinary group of experts to be constituted at the Centre which shall draw experts from NCDC, AIIMS, ICMR, WHO, CDC, IAP, Ministry of Science & Technology, Ministry of Women and Child Development and also include experts in the field of meteorology, nutrition, agricultural science. The group constituted at the national level will be anchored in the Health Ministry.


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