Women, kids flee village to escape encephalitis in UP

Three children die over three days, four others sick

With authorities failing to prevent the spread of encephalitis, people in villages in the eastern UP district of Kushinagar have started shifting the womenfolk and children to safer areas so that they might not fall prey to the disease.

Reports said at least 50 women and children from the Dalit hamlet of Gosaipatti village have fled from the village after several children died of encephalitis in the past few days.
Three children died of the disease in the past three days while four others were battling for their lives in the district hospital.

The reports said only five of 50 children enrolled in the village’s primary school attended their classes on Wednesday. Sources said the teachers were informed that the rest have shifted to safer places.

A team of health officers

visited the village after getting the information about the shifting. The auxiliary nurse midwife deployed at the village was suspended for laxity while show cause notices were issued to chief medical officer and pradhan of the village, sources said.

Sources said such a trend might also be witnessed in many other villages in the district if remedial measures were not taken forthwith.

The disease, which has assumed epidemic form, claims hundreds of lives every year.
Although the disease has been taking its toll in the eastern UP districts, mainly in the region around Gorakhpur, for the past 35 years, very little has been done by the successive governments at the Centre and the state to take appropriate measures.
This year alone around 418 people, mostly children, have so far died of the disease in the region.

In the past three days, at least 17 children died of encephalitis at the Gorakhpur Medical College Hospital, reports said.

It’s the only centre in the region where the treatment for the disease is available.  Around 200 people were being treated for the disease at the hospital.
The authorities are now focusing on sanitation and to clean water.

“The source is either water or faeces,” they point out adding that they were now working towards ensuring safe water and sanitation in the encephalitis-affected villages.
But the task is quite difficult if not impossible, they admit.

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