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Published On: Tue, Jun 18th, 2019

CM Nitish Kumar Faces Protests During Muzaffarpur Visit

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IN18NITISHSLOGANSPATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was today met by a crowd of angry parents and protestors chanting “wapas jao (go back)” on his first visit to Muzzaffarpur since an outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome 17 days ago.
CM Nitish Kumar, who finally visited SKMCH Hospital in Muzaffarpur where a majority of children have died and at least 200 others were still undergoing treatment. Angry relatives of the patients raised “Nitish Kumar, go back” slogans as the Chief Minister visited the hospital.
The protesters expressed fury at the delayed visit and alleged hospital officials cared more about that than caring for patients.
Had the CM visited earlier, it would have made the concerned people pull up their socks and many lives could have been saved,” a protestor was quoted in a PTI report.
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has killed 132 children so far, with 107 deaths reported from Muzzaffarpur and surrounding districts. Mr Kumar, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, met children admitted to Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and their parents, but left without facing the protestors.
Kumar, who had been away in New Delhi since Saturday, returned to the state capital on Monday evening and held an emergency review meeting on the AES situation with officials.

A few days ago, black flags were also raised by protesters at the convoy of Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey as the encephalitis death toll continued to rise.
As of Tuesday, the death toll in Muzaffarpur due to encephalitis, also known as Chamki fever in Hindi, stood at 132.
Instructions were also issued for equipping primary health centres with necessary facilities so that children with symptoms of AES in remote areas could be provided with medical attention closer home since, in several cases, the time involved in travelling to the district headquarters and seeking admission to hospitals had led to worsening of the condition of patients.
SK Shahi, the medical superintendent of SKMCH, said, the Chief Minister was “satisfied” by his interaction with patients and relatives.”The Chief Minister met the patients and their relatives. He was satisfied with the present medical treatment being provided and ordered us to release a bulletin daily at 3 pm.”
Meanwhile,while Bihar deals with one of the worst healthcare crisis in the state as more than 100 children have died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the last few weeks, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) appears to be more concerned about the caste of the ailing children.
In a questionable move, RJD, which is in opposition in Bihar, took to Twitter on Tuesday and claimed that the government and the media had shown apathy towards the sick children dying due to encephalitis because the victims belonged to Dalit and backward class communities.
In its tweet, the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led party  claiming that their voices were heard because they belonged to the ‘upper class’ communities. The tweet read, “When a couple of savarn or upper-class doctors got merely beaten up, doctors across the country called for a strike and showed the common man and the governments their place.
However, when 200 children from Dalit-backward class communities from poor backgrounds die, the news of their deaths is mostly met with silence because everyone else is alright. Otherwise, people would have created chaos over the issue.”
Meanwhile, the Nitish Kumar government in the state and the NDA government at the Centre have also faced massive criticism for not taking timely steps and measures to contain the casualties caused by the disease.
Mr Kumar had earlier announced that “ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh each will be given to families of the deceased”. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan yesterday chaired a high-level meeting and directed the establishment of virological labs across the state and the setting-up of a 100-bed paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH).
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is a viral disease that causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches. The state health department has cited hypoglycemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar, as one of the main reasons for the deaths.(With Agency Inputs ).

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