The Bihar Chief Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, on Monday finally broke his silence over the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the state, leading to the death of more than 150 kids. Terming it an extremely serious issue, he said that merely expressing grief on the outbreak is not enough.
The Bihar Government has been facing a lot over flak over its handling of the outbreak. Pointing out that his government was doing everything possible, Mr. NItish Kumar said several meetings were held and the issue has been discussed at length.
The Chief Minister was addressing the state Assembly on the first day of the Session that was marred by protests from the Rashtriya Janata Dal on the issue of AES deaths and the slide in Bihar’s ranking in the NITI Ayog’s healthcare index.
'“I held a meeting at AIIMS Patna in 2015 and various experts had different views as to what is the reason. A report was even sent to the US for expert opinion on it and all had different views,' he was quoted as saying.
While admitting that most hospitals do not have proper facilities, Mr. Niish Kumar assured the House that his government is taking a number of steps to ensure prevention of the disease.
The state Health Minister, Mr. Mangal Pandey, claimed that the disease has seen a downward trend in the last few years and said that measures, including raising awareness among people about the infection, are being carried out. 'As per the data we have till June 28, 720 patients were admitted, of them 586 were cured, and 154 children died. The death rate has reduced to 21 percent. According to 2011-19 data, the death rate has fallen in the past few years,' he told the Assembly.
An All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) team has blamed administrative failure and state’s apathy for the children's deaths.