Bihar to have 11 More Medical Colleges; Says Health Minister

Source: patnadaily.com

Patna: Ignoring the fact that nearly 200 children had died in Bihar due to outbreak of the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the recent months in the state and the fact that Bihar hospitals remain more under lockdown due to strike by junior doctors and nurses and there is a serious crisis of doctors in nearly all state hospitals, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Wednesday announced the government’s decision to open 11 new medical colleges in Bihar.

Reacting to the opposition’s demand of resignation in the wake of the death of children due to AES, Pandey, without mentioning anything about improving the conditions of the existing hospitals in Bihar where just as recent as last week flood water had entered in the general ward forcing the patients to be moved to different locations, said that the government was planning to open 11 new hospitals in the state. He also repeated the pledge of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who had recently said that the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) will be turned into a ‘world-class’ hospital with 5000 beds in it.

The Health Minister was speaking at Vidhan Sabha about Rs. 96,000,000,000 (96 arab+) budget of the health department that was passed despite pandemonium by the opposition leaders who continued to demand his resignation in the wake of the AES-related deaths.

“Work has already begun on the 500-bed hospital in the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) in Patna and a proposal to build a 1200-bed hospital is also in the pipeline. Another plan includes building of a brand-new mental hospital in Koelwar with a capacity of 272 beds and hospitals with 50 to 100 bed capacity is being built in 14 blocks in various districts,” he said.

Other plans include building of a second All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bihar, a 100-bed children hospital in Muzaffarpur, a cancer hospital with a price tag of Rs. 200 crore, and building of a disease control center inside Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) campus, the minister said.

AES in Bihar: Providing all support to contain it, Centre tells SC

Source: business-standard.com

The Centre told the Supreme Court Wednesday that it was proactively providing all support to Bihar in containing and managing Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in which more than children have died.

In an affidavit filed on a plea seeking measures for containment of the disease, the Centre said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had visited Bihar on June 16, to review the situation in Muzaffarpur.

It said that after the visit several decisions were taken including construction of a 100 bed Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at SKMCH hospital in Muzaffarpur by the state government in one years from the funds of National Health Mission (NHM).

“The land for the same (100-bed Paediatric ICU) is available in the premise of the SKMCH hospital and will be provided by the state,” the affidavit said.

It said a decision has been taken to set up five virology labs in different districts of the state from the NHM funds and the location of the districts will be decided in consultation with the state government.

Detailing further decisions taken, the Centre said: “In the adjoining districts, 10-bed Paediatric ICUs to be setup so that such cases can be treated early and there is no unnecessary load on the facilities available at SKMCH. Funds for this are to be provided through NHM.”

The ministry said that to enable early detection and treatment of the hypoglycemia cases, a dedicated team of doctors will be placed in endemic Primary Health Centres with required facilities, at least for three-four months before and during expected onset of disease.

“As for present, the concerned PHCs and CHCs (Community Health Centres) should take prompt corrective measures for hypoglycemia at the facility itself to utilize the golden hour”, the affidavit said.

It said that a Super Speciality Block is being constructed at SKMCH hospital, Muzaffarpur and it would start functioning by first week of December.

Besides these steps, the affidavit said that Ministry of Earth Sciences has been requested to upgrade its IMD Observatory facility for improved monitoring of climate related parameters such as temperature humidity, rainfall and share it with the state government for better preparedness and management of AES.

It said the minister has decided to constitute inter-disciplinary, high quality research team for ascertaining the case of AES with specific reference to Muzaffarpur.

“The vacant positions of district epidemiologist and entomologist in Muzaffarpur to be filled up immediately by the state government,” the health ministry said added that health is a state subject as per the Constitutional provisions.

The apex court is hearing a petition filed by advocate Manohar Pratap who has said that he was deeply “pained and saddened” by the deaths of more than 126 children, mostly in the age group of one to 10 years, in Bihar due to AES.

Besides Centre, the apex court had also asked Bihar government to file its response on the issue.

In a shocking revelation about medical care facilities in Bihar, which is facing an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome, the state government Tuesday told the Supreme Court that there are only 5,205 doctors in government-run health centres against the sanctioned strength of 12,206.

The state government, in an affidavit filed in the apex court, said that only 5,634 nurses were there in government run hospitals and health centres against sanctioned strength of 19,155.

The court had on June 24 directed the state to apprise it about the status of public medical care facilities, nutrition and sanitation within a week in view of deaths of over 100 children in Muzaffarpur due to the outbreak of AES.

Regarding AES cases, the state government said 824 cases have been reported and the number of deaths was 157.

It, however, said that it was not known whether 24 deaths out of 215 cases were due to AES.

“State of Bihar had already taken all possible steps to prevent the spread of the disease by providing additional medical facilities at the affected region, public awareness campaign at the village level, involving various agencies to assist the government etc,” it said.

Symptoms of AES include high fever, convulsions and extremely low blood sugar levels. Among the factors said to trigger the syndrome are malnutrition.

There were more than 44,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths from encephalitis in India between 2008 and 2014, said a 2017 study published in The Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR).

Researchers said the patients often report acute onset of fever and altered consciousness, with a rapidly deteriorating clinical course, leading to death within hours.

Litchis grown in Muzaffarpur, the country’s largest litchi cultivation region, are said to contain a toxin which can cause a drop in blood sugar levels if consumed by a malnourished child.

100 Kids Have Died Due To Encephalitis In Bihar, Govt Seems Clueless About How To Save Them

Source: indiatimes.com

The death toll due to the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome outbreak in Bihar has reached 100 and despite claims made by state government, the number of deaths are increasing with more and more infected children rushing to the hospitals.

Muzzafurpur district is mainly affected by the outbreak and 83 children have succumbed to Encephalitis at Sri Krishna Medical College while 17 died at Kejriwal hospital. The union health minister Harsh Vardhan visited the Muzaffarpur yesterday  and took stock of the situation. Different media reports said that the minister was shown black flags. However, the minister said he has spoken to  “every concerned individual about this issue”.

The situation turned grim when a five year od child while three minsiters around and this enraged the anger of the parents of the children and they confronted the ministers. Vardhan, however, later held a meeting and assured a research that would be undertaken to ascertain the cause of the disease to order any such outbreak in future. He was quoted News18. 

“I assure the people of the area, especially the affected families, that the government will extend all possible help and measures to the state government,” Vardhan said.

Despite all problems and considering the seriousness of this disease, I appreciate the efforts put in by the doctors to ensure efficient treatment to everyone,” he added.

Nitish Kumar, the CM had also expressed grief over the deaths of the children and announced “an ex gratia payment of Rs. 4 lakh to the next of the kin of those who have died”. The lack of awareness about his to tackle the decease is also the reason for outbreak, the CM said.

The health department of the state has cited hypoglycaemia in which the blood sugar level go down as the main reason behind the deaths of the children. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a viral diseases that has symptoms like high fever, convulsions and headaches.

Gates Foundation to support Bihar beyond 2021, says health minister

Source: hindustantimes.com

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), has accepted in principle to continue support to the Bihar government in the health sector beyond 2021, based on the government’s long-term plan for health system reforms.

This follows the request by Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey for extension of support. Pandey met Melida Gates on the sidelines of the Women Deliver 2019 conference at Vancouver in Canada, which ended on June 6.

The co-chair of the BMGF said that the foundation was committed to supporting the Bihar government beyond 2021 and emphasised that the state government should have long-term health system transformation plan in place.

“Based on the government’s plan, it would become clear as to what would be the nature of support the government needs and how best the BMGF can provide it,” said the minister quoting the co-chair.

Pandey, on behalf of chief minister Nitish Kumar, also extended an invitation to Bill and Melinda Gates to visit Bihar to see the changes that have taken place in the state’s health sector. “During the visit, the government would be happy to share the long-term transformation plan with the BMGF leadership, the minister told the co-chair,” he added.

Principal secretary, department of health, Sanjay Kumar was present at the discussion.

Pandey said that the health system transformation was a long-term process and owing to the government’s commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goal by 2030, the Foundation should support the department of health beyond 2021 or at least till 2025.

The minister said that Melinda told the Bihar delegation that the ongoing project in the state was very close to her and Bill Gates’s heart. “Due to multiple competing priorities, they were not able to visit Bihar in the recent past. But through the Gates Foundation team in India they received regular updates,” he added.

Bihar working towards gender equality through empowerment of women: Health minister Mangal Panday

Source: newindianexpress.com

PATNA: Bihar health minister Mangal Panday addressing a conference in Canada’s Vancouver said the state is working towards gender equality through educational and economical empowerment of women.

Panday, who is currently attending a 4-day conference on gender equality and health of women and girls called ‘Women Deliver-2019′ at Vancouver in Canada, said the total fertility rate in a state of India like Bihar has been a matter of serious concern. “But Bihar is working with strong will power to check it down to a great extent through educational and economical empowerments to women and girls”, Panday said, addressing the Planery Session of the conference on Tuesday.

‘Women Deliver-2019’ began on Monday in Canada with PM Justin Trudeau’s inaugural speech in which he said: “Gender equality is under attack globally”. 

The conference is being attended by over 7000 world-leaders, innovators, influencers, change-makers and other personalities involved in social work and gender equality focussed on women and girl child rights from 165 countries.

The conference focuses on three key issues – gender-responsive health systems and services, gender-based violence and women’s economic empowerment and equal opportunity,  facilitating cross-issue dialogues, understanding and collaborations.

Panday speaking at the parliamentary forum of the conference, quoted various initiatives by the Bihar government to decrease the total fertility rate (TFR) and dwelt upon the success of Swasthay mela (Health fairs), which are organised at primary health centres in state regularly.

He also said : “A free of cost inject bale contraceptive called-Antra, has been made available at health centres in 36 districts of state to curb population growth by checking TFR besides a slew of initiatives including the regular health fairs”.

Panday said that Bihar has witnessed decrease in TFR from 4.3 earlier to 3.3 till 2018. “But state health wing is determined to decrease it even drastically through people’s participation and awareness”, he said.