Health Minister Mangal Pandey asks ‘what’s the cricket score?' at a meeting to discuss AES deaths in Bihar

Health Minister Mangal Pandey was busy in a meeting with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and his deputy Ashwini Kumar Choubey when he appeared more concerned about the cricket match.

Health Minister Mangal Pandey asks ‘what’s the cricket score?' at a meeting to discuss AES deaths in Bihar
Image Courtesy: ANI

NEW DELHI: At a time when Bihar is grappling with Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), which has claimed the lives of 126 children in Muzaffarpur, the state Health Minister Mangal Pandey was on Sunday caught on camera asking the score of India-Pakistan cricket match during a meeting held to discuss the situation.

Pandey was busy in a meeting with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and his deputy Ashwini Kumar Choubey when he appeared more concerned about the cricket match and was heard asking about the score of the match. “Kitne wickets gaye? (How many wickets have been taken?)," Pandey can be heard saying. Dr Harsh Vardhan had called the meeting after he visited the families of ailing children admitted at hospitals in Muzaffarpur.

At least 104 children have died due to AES in Muzaffarpur, while 12 children died due to the viral infection in Vaishali. Two AES-related deaths were reported from Motihari and Patna while five kids succumbed to the infection in Samastipur. The state government on Monday said that at least 100 children have recovered after getting treatment for the viral infection.

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Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued a notice to Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar and Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, calling for a detailed report in deaths due to AES in Muzaffarpur.

The NHRC has also sought a report from Bihar government providing details about the status of implementation of National Programme for Prevention and Control of Japanese Encephalitis Virus/ Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (NPPCJA) and other steps taken to deal with the situation. It is expected that the Bihar government would submit the report within four weeks.

Encephalitis, called 'Chamki' fever in Hindi, is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches and has been claiming lives in the district for the past few weeks.