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JE claims 49 lives in Assam, state government keeps on hold of all doctors, paramedical staff up to September 30
  Kathmandu, Nepal      July 06 2019

Assam Health minister announces free treatment for all JE patients 

Guwahati, July 6 : With reports of 49 deaths and 190 positive cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in the state, the Assam government has kept on hold leaves for all doctors and paramedical staff including surveillance workers up to September 30.

Assam Health minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that, leaves for all doctors, nurses, paramedical staff from medical college hospital to sub health centre will be kept on hold up to September 30 and unauthorised absence from the place of posting even after duty hours will be treated seriously amounting to criminal dereliction of duty.

Addressing a press conference held in Guwahati, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that, the Assam government will lodge FIR against them if they violate the government order.

"Any kind of emergency leave will be granted only with the prior approval of the Deputy Commissioner of the district," the Assam Health minister said.

"We have taken number of steps. We have intensified blood sample collections as so far 12 lakh blood samples we have collected. We have given instruction authorities to cancel all the leaves of doctors and paramedical staff, so that, they can remain engage with patient. They will not be given any leave up to 30 September. We have also given financial incentive such as all treatment in ICU will be free. So that, no poor will be deprived from taking treatment," Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The Assam Health minister said that, the state government will provide Rs 1 lakh to each Japanese Encephalitis patient, whose treatment is going in the nursing home ICU's.

"In order to ensure that AES/JE patients needing ICU critical care are not deterred from getting timely medical treatment, all costs of ICU care including hospital charges, drugs, diagnostics will be made free of cost to the patient at the point of care in all government hospitals operating ICU facilities. Where an AES/JE positive patient is admitted to any ICU in private hospital within Assam, due to non-availability of government ICU beds, a consolidated ICU treatment allowance up to Rs 1 lakh per patient will be paid directly to the private hospital in the name of the treating patient," the Assam Health minister said.

Himanta Biswa Sarma further said – 12.8 lakh blood slides have been collected by our fever surveillance network of 2663 MPW, 963 Surveillance workers, 80 MTS and 30940 Asha workers across the state.

"A total of 1094 effected villages in Assam have been covered through intensified fogging operations already. Transportation of suspected fever cases from community to district hospital and medical colleges are made free through Mrintunjoy 108/102 ambulances. Certain number of beds in all the ICU and wards have been reserved for patients with JE/AES in all district hospitals and medical colleges. A total of 1,08,596 Insecticide Treated Bed nets (ITBN) have been provided with deltamethrine at the family level," Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The Assam Health minister further said that, the state health department has established a central control room number 6913347770/1/2/3 to monitor the situation on a 12 hourly basis along with all kinds of patient support and feedback and all the Deputy Commissioners have been alerted and directed to step up the surveillance activities in coordination with the panchayat and urban local bodies along with strengthening of diagnostics and case management.

It is to be mentioned that, 756 people have died due to Japanese Encephalitis in Assam since 2013.

In Assam, Japanese Encephalitis has claimed 134 lives in 2013, 165 in 2014, 135 in 2015, 92 in 2016, 87 in 2017, 94 in 2018 and 49 in this year so far.

(By Hemanta Kumar Nath, Guwahati)