Gorakhpur: After 500 children have died in the last two months in Uttar Pradesh due to encephalitis epidemic, the state government has announced half measures to tackle the crisis.
But there is one village in eastern UP, which is showing the way how the state can fight encephalitis.
Holiya village, located in one of the hotbeds of the viral fever – Khushinagar, has learned the hard lesson from the past tragedies.
Take the example of 18-year-old Sonu Singh, for whom the search for a groom is on. She was 10 when she was diagnosed with Japanese encephalitis. She survived but was left with impaired speech and a disability in her left arm.
"I can do all my work," said Sonu.
Sonu said she can manage with one arm, but it's hampering her marriage prospects.
Doctors say 1/5th children who survive encephalitis are left with some sort of mental or physical disability - most of them end up crippled for life and many of them suffer brain damage.
Holiya has also seen five children die of encephalitis and four handicapped.
In 2010 the villagers under the guidance of Dr RN Singh adopted simple methods that could help prevent the disease. Water for drinking is pumped only from 100 meter Deep tube wells. It is further purified by exposing it to the sun for 6-8 hours.
This along with regular fogging and use of mosquito nets has helped Holiya beat encephalitis, and not a single case was reported from the village this year.
"We wanted to show that if we can save one village - the government is a big thing - it can save the entire Poorvanchal," said NEEP volunteer Manoj Gupta.
At Gorakhpur, the BRD Medical College is dealing with the encephalitis crisis.
But the statistics are frightening - six children have died in the hospital over the weekend, taking the toll to 318, and 72 adults are dead as well.
Doctors working at the hospital say they could do with more help.
"With such a large influx of patients we need more doctors, nurses, everything," said Dr Kushwaha.
For India's dying children everything is in short supply - especially hope.