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As Bihar Grapples with Encephalitis Deaths, Students Polish Shoes in Patna to Raise Funds for Children

Members of Jan Adhikar Chhatra Parishad, who attempted to raise money, accused politicians of not addressing the crisis in the state.

News18.com

Updated:June 22, 2019, 8:00 PM IST
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As Bihar Grapples with Encephalitis Deaths, Students Polish Shoes in Patna to Raise Funds for Children
Jan Adhikar Chhatra Parishad' members polish shoes to collect money for children affected due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). (Twitter/@ANI)
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New Delhi: Members of the student's wing of a party polished shoes in Bihar’s capital Patna to raise funds for the treatment of children affected by Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). More than 100 children so far have died in the state, with a majority of deaths in Muzaffarpur.

Members of Jan Adhikar Chhatra Parishad (JACP), who polished shoes in the city on Friday, accused politicians of not addressing the crisis in the state.

"Crores are being spent on Yoga Day celebrations across the country, but there are no sufficient number of beds, medicine, electricity or proper infrastructure facilities in the state-run hospital in Muzaffarpur,” JACP Vice-President Manish Yadav told news agency ANI.

Yadav said it would be a “black day” for the families who had lost their children to AES. The workers will donate for treatment “whatever they have acquired after polishing the shoes”, he added.

The move came as the death toll of children crossed 130 in Muzaffarpur district with most of the deaths occurring at the government-owned Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital and the privately-owned Kejriwal Hospital.

Known locally as 'chamki bukhar', the outbreak has happened annually during summer months in Muzaffarpur and its neighbouring districts since 1995, typically coinciding with the litchi season. Earlier, health officials said that the deadly brain disease might be linked to a toxic substance found in the fruit.

However, experts say that it is actuallypoverty, undernourishment and deplorable health facilities leading to the outbreak. According to the National Family Health Survey, almost half of the children under five in Muzaffarpur are stunted, almost 60% are anaemic, and more than 40% underweight.

Expressing serious concern over the "deplorable public health infrastructure" in the country, the National Human Rights Commission on Thursday issued notices to the Centre and all States and Union Territories, underlining loss of lives in various parts of the country in recent times, including that of over 100 children in Muzaffarpur.

The Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms like high fever, vomiting and in extreme cases, brain dysfunction, seizure, and inflammation of heart and kidney.

(With inputs from agencies)

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| Edited by: Shreya Basak
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