All encephalitis-affected states to get counselling centres soon

Reason for spread of Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in India still unknown

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Friday 09 January 2015


The Union health ministry has decided to make all District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRC) fully functional in all the districts of five states that have been affected by Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). These centres will aid a large number of children who acquire disability in the form of physical, mental and neurological disorders after getting infected with JE or AES. For this, the centres will deploy full time counsellors to assist parents in taking care of their children.

The decision was taken in an inter-ministerial meeting that was chaired by J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare. The health secretaries of the five affected states—Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu—were also present at the meeting.

The reason for spread of JE and AES is still unknown. Scientists are working on various theories to ascertain the cause of the disease in India. Representatives of ministries and departments of Drinking Water and Sanitation; Women and Child Development; Social Justice and Empowerment; Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation; School Education and Literacy; and Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, were present at the meeting.

While vaccination has helped in dramatic reduction of mortality due to JE, the spread of AES still remains a cause of concern. The health minister pointed out that clean drinking water is a key requirement and for this purpose he urged the states to make full use of the funding that has been made available by the government. The minister advised that the Central government should depute officers to visit the affected states for actual implementation of the schemes.

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