The Assam Government has cancelled leave of all health department employees till the end of September to deal with an outbreak of encephalitis in the state. The government also said it will file police complaints against doctors and health officials if they are found to be neglecting their duties.
'We have cancelled leave of all government doctors and employees of all government health facilities. We are on the alert. We will take punitive action against doctors not attending their duties,' the Health Minister, Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma, said.
Since April, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) has killed 50 people, mostly adults, in Assam and about 190 people have tested positive for the disease this year.
Mr Sarma said the government is taking all measures to prevent a Bihar-like situation, where it had killed 140 children. 'We have decided to intensify our blood sample collection drive. So far we have collected 12.5 lakh samples. Our focus is to treat patients in the initial stage and we will also start an intensive adult vaccination drive from November,' he said.
Apart from that, the government will give Rs. 1 lakh for the treatment of each patient.
The Centre had sent a high-level team to Assam to pre-empt any chance of an encephalitis outbreak and the Union. Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan,has sent the Central team to review the Japanese Encephalitis situation and also directed the Ministry to assist the Assam government in its efforts.