A fact finding team consisting of a number of doctors and organisations has released it’s report on Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and the Chamki Bimari that took the lives of more than 250 children in UP and Bihar this year. The reason behind the disease was not known yet. The report says that symptoms for AES and Chamki Bimari are similar with only one difference that AES happens during rainy season and excessive heat leads to Chamki bimari.
The fact finding team has found that there are seven major reasons for the outbreak of Chamki Bimari. Poor Personal Hygiene, lack of clean drinking water, Malnutrition, Over Population, Poor vaccine drive, Extreme heat and humid conditions, Poor sanitation facilities are reasons for the spread of the disease. More importantly the report dismisses a notion that was spread around that eating Litchi was the reason for the out break of the disease. ”Litchi is not the cause of this disease. There are other factors too. Fact finding team have talked to parents affected with Chamki bimari, they said that they didn’t fed their kids litchis that fateful day”. Malnutrition makes the children from backward, dalit, minority communities major victims of the AES. ”The number of girls being affected by AES is more than that of boys. Majority of the children who died were from the age of 6 months to 5 years. Majority of these children came from the families of daily wage earners who earned an income of 150-200 INR per day”.
The fact finding report accuses the state governments of hiding real data of casualties due to Chamki bimari. It says that the number of children who had died in the care of quacks, private hospitals; those who died in ambulances while being transported to Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital and who were brought dead to SKMCH emergency ward were not added to the official death toll.
The fact finding report also claims that there has been reduction in the cases of chamki bimari for the past few days.
”This has been made possible largely due to the efforts of local NGOs, doctors, nurses, and starting of rainy season. The awareness drives, Encephalitis camps, and the onset of rains have led to the dwindling of casualties”.
While mentioning the symptoms of the disease in detail, the fact finding report points out the methods for preventing the spread of the disease also. The report says that If timely treatment was provided deaths due to AES could be avoided. ”The reason behind these deaths is improper management in government hospitals more than the disease itself. ”The hospital is quite dirty too. The basic healthcare facilities in Bihar lie in a dilapidated state. Areas with a significant Minorities,backward, and Dalit populations do not receive the preventive measures such as vaccines required to prevent this disease”.
The death of more than 250 children in Muzaffarpur, Bihar has shocked the entire country. The reason behind this disease and outbreak is not yet known but its symptoms are similar to AES, the only difference being that AES happens during the rainy season while excessive heat leads to Chamki Bimari.
Read the Full report here
Some of the major causes for the outbreak of Chamki bimari are
1- poor personal hygiene
3-lack of safe and clean drinking water
4-overcrowding /population explosion
5- poor vaccination drive
6 – Malnutrition
7-Extreme Heat & Humid conditions
The fact-finding team has also revealed how Govt is hiding real data of casualties due to Chamki bimari . Children who died due to the following reasons have not been included
– Children who died in the care of quacks
– Children who died in private hospitals
– Children who died in the government ambulance while being transported to SKMCH hospital for treatment
– Children who were brought dead to the emergency ward of the SKMCH hospital
If we add all of the above deaths, then the number would cross 300.After analyzing Bihar’s situation, we can safely conclude a few things about Chamki bimari; Litchi is not the cause of this disease. There are other factors too. Fact finding team have talked to parents affected with Chamki bimari, they said that they didn’t fed their kids litchis that fateful day.
If timely treatment is provided then deaths due to AES can be avoided, and this disease can be treated.
The reason behind these deaths is improper management in government hospitals more than the disease itself. Sri Krishna Medical College is ridden with such issues. There is a dearth of doctors and nurses to handle the increasing inflow of patients, and medicines required in the treatment. There are two or more than two patients on each bed.The hospital is quite dirty too. The basic healthcare facilities in Bihar lie in a dilapidated state. Areas with a significant Minorities,backward, and Dalit populations do not receive the preventive measures such as vaccines required to prevent this disease.
The rural areas suffer from lack of knowledge and awareness about AES
All children suffering from AES were also suffering from malnutrition. Majority of the children were from the backward, minority, or Dalit communities. The number of girls being affected by AES is more than that of boys.
Majority of the children who died were from the age of 6 months to 5 years. Majority of these children came from the families of daily wage earners who earned an income of 150-200 INR per day.
Doctor Kafeel Khan’s Mission Smile Foundation along with Insaf Manch conducted health camps to check for the symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrom in Muzaffarpur, Champaran, Vaishali, Sitamarhi in Bihar for 12 days (18/06/19-29/06/19). These health camps conducted the checkup of more than 4600 kids and gave them medicines free-of-cost. The parents were also educated about the symptoms and prevention of AES. These health camps were set up at Damodarpur, Chainpur Baangar, Chakiya East Champaran, Neem Chauk, Nathuni Chowk Sumera, Mekra Murra Tola, Ali Neura, Meenapur, Dumri Katra, Aurai, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, and Seetamarhi. Night choupal were set up in 11 villages and the purpose was to spread awareness about the disease. Digital thermometer and ORS were distributed to the families free of cost.
A team of doctors including Dr. Kafeel Khan, Dr. N Azam, Dr, Ashish Gupta, and Dr. Arshad Anjum were involved in this. Along with Mr. Zafar Aazam-The Deputy President of Insaf Manch- Kamran Rahmani, Daanish, Aaftab Saheb, Fahad Bhai, Gharamdev Yadav, Chandan Paswan, Aejaz, Sonu Tziwari, and Pintu Gupta played an important role in the smooth functioning of these health camps.
Acute Encephalitis can be prevented if you follow the below-mentioned rules
– Keep children away from the scorching heat
– Keep them hydrated
– Give them light and nutritious home cooked meals, and keep them away from junk food.
– Don’t give them litchi on empty stomach
– Give them something sweet to consume after dinner
– Don’t let water accumulate in and around your house. Spray pesticides from time to time.
– Use a mosquito net while sleeping at night.
– Keep the children covered.
– Don’t let them consume stale fruits. They should always eat fresh fruits.
– Make sure that they keep drinking water throughout the day. They shouldn’t be dehydrated.
Symptoms in kids
– Sudden high fever
– Tightness in hands and feet
– Lethargy and dizziness
– Flecks and rashes on the entire body
– Lack of glucose in the body
– Irritable behaviour/ sudden changes in behaviour
– Nonsensical talks/ prone to crying a lot
– Reduction in urination
Three things need to be done in order to deal with this crisis in the long-run
– Year-long awareness drives should be conducted.
– There is a dire need to find out the root cause of the disease. The government should ensure that medicines and pesticides are sprinkled throughout the year, and other important factors such as the availability of clean toilets and clean water, vaccination drive to prevent this disease, and the need to declare Malnutrition a health emergency should be taken into account.
– The government machinery should be ready to deal with the outbreak and spread of this disease.
– The number of beds in the ICU should be increased to 200. Doctors, Nurses, and Paramedic staff should be well-trained and ready to handle such a situation.
– The condition of basic healthcare facilities needs to be improved. There is a need of more doctors. Ambulance services and medicines need to be properly managed.
Kafeel Khan said that till now 800 children have contracted this disease, and more than 250 have died because of it. The death rate is 25 percent.
We also demand compensation of Rs 10 lakh to be given to the parents who lose their kids to Encephalitis. The government should apologize publicly for its failure to deal with the crisis, and ensure that such unfortunate incidents are not repeated.