When Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited SKMCH hospital in Muzaffarpur on Tuesday, angry people raised 'Nitish Kumar go back' slogans for 'not taking appropriate steps' to fight Acute Encephalitis Syndrome outbreak. According to PTI, the death toll due to the disease has climbed to 105.
People have accused the Chief Minister of 'ignoring the severity of the disease and ever-increasing number of deaths' and taking action only after media pressure. Nitish Kumar had been away in New Delhi since Saturday. He returned to Patna on Monday evening and held emergency review meetings with the officials to assess the situation.
On Tuesday morning, Kumar rushed to the SKMCH hospital in Muzaffarpur, where more than 300 children have been admitted with complaints of AES since June 1. Close to 90 of them have died.
Hordes of people gathered outside the hospital and started shouting slogans like "Nitish Kumar go back", angry over the chief minister choosing to visit the city only after the number of casualties had crossed the three-digit mark.
Now the government has declared it would bear the expense for treatment of those found with the syndrome even if it took place at private hospitals.
Instructions have also been issued for equipping primary health centres with necessary facilities so that children with symptoms of AES in remote areas could be provided with medical attention closer home since, in several cases, the time involved in travelling to the district headquarters and seeking admission to hospitals had led to worsening of the condition of patients.
The chief minister, who was flanked by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi and cabinet colleague and local MLA Suresh Sharma, went to the ICU inside the hospital to take stock of the situation before holding an impromptu review meeting with hospital authorities and other health department officials.
(With PTI Inputs)