Bihar’s AES cases: Survey exposes loopholes in execution of government welfare …

A socio-economic survey of the families affected by the acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) epidemic in Bihar has exposed many loopholes in the execution of welfare plans for the poor by the state government.

The socio-economic survey has begun in the villages falling under the districts worst hit by AES, with the district of Muzaffarpur seeing the highest number of deaths.

During his visit on June 18 to the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), where most of the AES cases are being treated, chief minister Nitish Kumar directed the health department to speed up the socio-economic survey of the affected families.

The entire survey of more than 500 affected families is yet to be done; so far, 289 families have been covered. District magistrate Alok Ranjan Ghosh said that the socio-economic survey had been launched and that the families were being covered on a priority basis. Teams are going to the villages and approaching the families with a questionnaire on their annual income, housing, food purchases etc. The annual income of the families covered so far was estimated to be between Rs 30,000 and 70,000.

The 289 families surveyed consisted mostly of labourers, daily wagers and seasonal labourers. Only 29 families were found to be beneficiaries of Mukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojna, and only 98 got the benefits of Indira Awas Yojna.

Not a single family was the beneficiary of the Nal Jal Yojna of the state government.

Moreover, only 159 ailing children from these 289 families got an ambulance service to reach either SKMCH or Kejriwal maternity clinic (KMC).

Most of the respondent families first approached the nearest public health centres following symptoms of AES, but they were referred immediately to SKMCH and KMC for want of medical facilities at the PHCS, found the survey.

Out of 289 families, 124 do not get any foodgrains etc through the public distribution system. At least, 96 families out of 289 still have no ration cards.

The survey found that most of the affected children were in the age group of 1-11 years.

Asked about the report, district magistrate in-charge Ujjwal Kumar Singh said, “The data in its raw form is ready, but the report is being compiled and should be ready by tomorrow. I can [fornally] share its findings only after the final report is ready.”

Three blocks of Muzaffarpur district, including Mushahri, Kanti and Bochaha, figured as those hardest hit by the encephalitis epidemic.

DM Ghosh said that 590 children were admitted to SKMCH and KMC with encephalitis symptoms and 289 children were treated and discharged.

First Published:
Jun 24, 2019 14:30 IST

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