Bhubaneswar: The 8-member BJP fact-finding team, which had gone to Malkangiri district on Saturday to study the ground situation of Japanese Encephalitis (JE), has alleged that the Odisha government has utterly failed in bringing down the vector-borne disease under control.
“While the disease has assumed alarming proportions in Malkangiri district, the state government is not serious about the preventive measures to stop the death of the children in the affected villages. We had visited Palkonda village where the first JE death of a child was officially confirmed on September 9. Besides, we had also visited Koimetla villages and other affected villages. After arriving in the district, we had visited district headquarters hospital (DHH) and found more than 60 children afflicted with JE as told by the paediatrician. Besides, while going around the orthopaedic ward and ICU, we found several children within 2-10 age groups admitted in these wards. From this, it is apparent that the state government has not given the exact number of deaths. The government has said 43-44 children have died of JE. But the actual number of death would be more than 75,” senior BJP leader and member of the BJP fact finding team Surama Padhi told media persons here.
Talking about the number of doctors in Malkangiri district, Padhi said out of 115 doctors required in the district, there are only 52 doctors at present. Besides, out of 33 posts of doctors in the district headquarters hospital, there are seven doctors.
Stating that only one paediatrician has been posted in the district, she said the state government, considering the gravity of the situation, has posted three more paediatricians (two from VIMSAR, Burla and one from SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack) at the DHH last week.
Padhi also informed that the state government has recently transferred two AYUSH doctors and two surgeons of Kalimela and Korukonda Community Health Centres (CHCs) to the DHH. As a result, there is no doctor in these two CHCs. “In the absence of doctors in these CHCs a child of Koimetla village died as the family was forced to take the child to the village quack for treatment. But as the condition of the child deteriorated, the child was admitted in the DHH and subsequently died there,” she pointed out.
“There is no proper infrastructure in the DHH. Besides, distribution of mosquito nets and isolation of pigs from human habitations in the affected villages are not being carried out properly,” she noted.
Lashing out at the state government for playing politics on this issue, Padhi said let the state government make its stand clear. “The Centre is ready to provide all possible assistance to bring the outbreak of the disease under control. All the concerned department secretaries and a ministerial level team should work in tandem to ensure that the outbreak of the disease is brought under control and there is no death of any child in the district,” she maintained.
Terming the allegations as baseless, BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy said those who claim that the number of JE deaths in Malkangiri is more than what the state government has said, should be based on facts.
“For the sake of politics, it is not proper to give such statement to the media. As Encephalitis has become epidemic, it is the responsibility of the state and the Central government to step up adequate measures to tackle the situation. While the state government is trying its best to contain the disease, attempts made by any party to gain political mileage on this issue will be understood that it is trying to withdraw from its responsibility,” he observed.
Notably, the State BJP had constituted an 8-member fact-finding comprising general secretary Bhrugu Buxipatra, former ministers Surama Padhi and Pradipta Nayak, former Malkangiri MP Parsuram Majhi, Kamalakanta Pande, Ramesh Sahu, Rayagada district BJP president Siba Shankar Ullaka and Koraput district BJP President Bijay Kumar Mishra to the visit the affected areas of Malkangiri district.