New Delhi: The CNN-IBN expose on encephalitis has forced the Uttar Pradesh government to finally act and it has released Rs 18 crore for a 100-bed ward for encephalitis patients in Gorakhpur.
The UP government has also sanctioned 3000 deep borewells in the area.
The deadly encephalitis, a water or mosquito borne viral disease, has been striking with alarming regularity in the eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and 500 children have died due to it in the last two months. More than 50,000 lives have been lost in the last three decades as the public health system has collapsed in the region, which is one of the poorest in India.
Public health experts and activists say that the epidemic has been badly mismanaged for the last 33 years and the story should make 21st century India hang its head in shame. They say that there is no national programme to contain the epidemic in one of India's poorest regions and point out that the response to the crisis by the government and the media has been both shocking and lethargic.
Paediatric wards in Gorakhpur hospitals cannot handle the load of Encephalitis victims and is the same scene at several hospitals in the city.
Reacting to the situation, Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said that the Uttar Pradesh government needs to do more. "More needs to be done because of the living conditions in that area. We need to be a little more sensitive to this. The Government of India is taking adequate precautions, but at the same time, the state government should also realise the seriousness of the issue," he said.