Tribal kids die of mysterious disease

Tribal kids die of mysterious disease

Baffled health officials are yet to take remedial action

Uttar Pradesh’s tribal majority district of Sonebhadra is turning out to be a graveyard for tribal children. At least 500 of them have fallen prey to a mysterious disease within a span of few months.

According to reports, over a hundred children have died in three villages under Chopan development block in the district alone, triggering panic among health officials. According to sources, a majority of children died between December last year and January this year.

The number of deaths may rise if remedial action is not taken, according to local reports. The disease is yet to be identified as well.

 “The disease has affected several villages in far-flung and remote areas, where due to lack of connectivity, health officials find it difficult to reach,” a source said.

State health officials are baffled about the kind of disease. The treatment given to affected children is so far based on symptoms. 

“It could be due to water pollution,” a health official said.

 “Polluted water, negligence of doctors and lack of medical facilities may have caused the deaths of children in the district,” said  local legislator Ramesh Chandra Dubey.

 “A large number of children could not reach health centres for treatment. Those who came did not get the right treatment as facilities to diagnose and recommend medicines are missing,” Dubey added.

According to sources, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had written to the former state chief secretary to draw attention towards the reports of deaths and had sought quick action. 

 “But the government did not do anything,” a health official said. The government has asked health officials only now to look into the matter.

“Health officials have been told to probe the cause of death and give financial compensation to affected families,” a source said.  “A team of experts will visit the area soon.”

The district has several big power plants of the NTPC and other electricity companies. There is also Naxal presence in the area, considered to be one of the most backward districts in Uttar Pradesh with its arid climate and lack of fertile land.

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