Bihar plans 5-block survey to curb AES, toll goes up to 154

From Monday, the Bihar government will undertake a socio-economic survey of five blocks in Muzaffarpur that are most affected by acute encephalitis syndrome. One more AES death was reported from the district on Wednesday, taking the overall toll in the state to 154.

Fresh cases of AES were also reported from Madhepura, Munger and Saran districts, increasing the number of affected districts in the state to 23, said principal secretary, health, Sanjay Kumar.

“The detailed socio-economic survey will be conducted at Kanti, Bochaha, Meenapur, Musahri and Paroo blocks of Muzaffarpur,” said Bihar chief secretary Deepak Kumar. “Our survey will not delve into the clinical aspects of AES, but it will be a bonus if it reveals the causative factor of the disease. Our survey will be empirical based and concentrate on the socioeconomic factors of the families hit by AES during the past 6-7 years,” he added.

The survey would primarily focus on roughly 1,500 families affected by AES in the five blocks of Muzaffarpur in the past 6-7 years, the chief secretary added.

Officials of Jeevika, a World Bank-aided Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP) under the department of rural development, would be roped in for the survey. It would look into a whole gamut of government initiatives, including convergence of government programme and families untouched by government welfare schemes.

Based on the findings of the survey, the government would chalk out intervention methods on how to tackle the scourge, which has been affecting the state every year since 1995.

The findings of a preliminary survey undertaken in some affected districts came as an eyeopener for the government as it revealed that AES had affected the poorest strata of people. The affected families lacked nutrition, immunisation, healthcare support under Ayushman Bharat, girl child insurance, availability to foodgrains through public distribution system (PDS), ration card, dwelling under Indira Awaas Yojana etc.

The decision to conduct a survey was taken at a meeting convened by the chief secretary and attended by the heads of departments of social welfare, health, food and consumer protection, rural development and panchayati raj.

The heads of the departments would decide on the questionnaire for the survey on Thursday and hold an orientation programme of the workers before sending them out to the fields on Monday.

First Published:
Jun 27, 2019 15:12 IST

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