`Polluted water, malnutrition root causes of encephalitis`

Gorakhpur: After a two-day public hearing, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights today said contaminated water and malnutrition "appear" to be root causes behind the outbreak of encephalitis in Gorakhpur region.

Since January this year, the vector-borne disease has claimed over 200 lives in the region.

Speaking on the concluding day of the two-day public hearing on encephalitis at the BRD Medical College here, NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh asked all the concerned departments and authorities to take immediate action to prepare a strategy to prevent further outbreak of the disease and suggested several ways.

Besides Singh, the public hearing was attended by NCPCR members Vandana Prasad and Yogesh Dubey, the commissioners of Gorakhpur and Basti divisions, district magistrates of the seven districts, senior officials of different departments, experts and relatives of the JE/AES victims.

NCPCR members stressed the need of utilising front-line service providers like accredited social health activists and auxiliary nurses in early detection and timely referral of children having symptoms of encephalitis.

A discussion was also held to address the issues of malnutrition and contaminated water in rural areas.

The commission instructed concerned officials to ensure accountability of local health institutions in rural areas.

The commission also asked the authorities to conduct a review-cum-public hearing on encephalitis at block or tehsil level in every quarter.

The commission suggested engaging gram sabhas in the process and educating people about the disease.

A decision was also taken to set up a single-window system to provide multiple aids to the families of JE/AES patients.