The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Monday sent notices to the Union Health Ministry and the government of Bihar over reports of increasing deaths of children due to encephalitis in Muzaffarpur, a senior official said.
Nearly 100 children have died of suspected acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar, where doctors strike has paralysed medical and health services.
“The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the rising number of deaths of children due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar in the past few days,” a senior official said.
The commission has issued notices to the secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the chief secretary of Bihar, seeking a detailed report, including on the status of implementation of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Japanese Encephalitis Virus/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (NPPCJA) and other steps taken to deal with the painful situation, the NHRC said in a statement.
“The commission would also like to know about the status of the treatment being provided to the children, who are currently hospitalised, and the relief or rehabilitation provided by the state to the aggrieved families,” it said.
The response is expected within four weeks, the NHRC said.
The commission has observed that in spite of reported measures taken by the government agencies, deaths of children in such a large number indicate towards a “possible flaw” in proper implementation of the vaccination and awareness programmes.