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Uttar Pradesh: Yogi govt’s war against Encephalitis sees a 66% drop in deaths due to the disease

The UP government had launched the Dastak programme in February 2018, with an aim to immunise every child under 15 years of age and carry out widespread sanitation and awareness programmes.

The Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath seems to be winning the war against  Encephalitis as deaths due to the deadly epidemic disease has dramatically dropped by 66 percent in the 14 most-affected East Uttar Pradesh districts in 2018, reported Economic Times.

According to the reports, on Monday, Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh informed the UP assembly in a written answer that 187 people died due to encephalitis in 2018 against 553 such deaths in 2017. The number of encephalitis cases reported in 14 most affected districts of Eastern UP significantly dropped from 3817 in the year 2017 to 2043 cases last year.

The UP health minister said that doctors were able to save more patients compared to previous years. As every seventh patient admitted for encephalitis died during treatment in 2017, the casualty rate declined to every eleventh patient in 2018. The Minister also added that till 11 February 2019, no person has died due to encephalitis out of the reported 35 cases.

The UP government has attributed measures like early vaccination, segregating pigs from affected habitation, immediate response teams for fogging to stop outbreak, convincing parents to not let their kids sleep on the mud floor, drinking water from an ‘India Mark-2’ tap or hand pump, and calling the 108 ambulance helpline immediately if they find any symptoms as having helped in reducing the death toll.

Encephalitis is one of the biggest public health problems in Uttar Pradesh. It has killed thousands of children in the last 30 years. Soon after coming to power, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recognised the seriousness of the health issue and fighting the epidemic was made the top agenda of the UP government.

The UP government had launched the Dastak programme in February 2018, with an aim to immunise every child under 15 years of age and carry out widespread sanitation and awareness programmes. The campaign was planned as a holistic programme to educate and provide facilities to the families, not only for vaccination but also for the prevention and treatment of the disease.

With regards to the drive, Yogi Adityanath had stated that, for the 38 districts of UP affected by the disease the state health department would be made the nodal agency and other departments like urban development, Panchayati Raj, Women, and Child Welfare, Rural Development, Medical Education, Animal Husbandry and basic education departments would work under them.

The United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had praised the Uttar Pradesh government led by CM Yogi Adityanath for successfully immunising all children of the state against Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

Encephalitis is a life-threatening disease causing acute inflammation of the brain. A person afflicted with encephalitis requires serious medical attention. This disease can occur to people of any age group but children and elderly are more likely to be afflicted with the disease. It is caused due to bacterial infection, parasites or may be prompted by other infectious diseases. Encephalitis is a non-communicable disease.

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