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Centre ignored requests from state for vaccine, nets

Bhubaneswar: The Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus has caused 55 deaths so far in the Malkangiri district. But the Centre is yet to wake up to the situation. Neither mosquito nets nor vaccines have been provided by the central government to the Odisha government since the last five years despite multiple written requests.

The JE virus was seen for the first time in 2012 in Malkangiri. In November, 2012 the state health department wrote to the Centre for proper action through vaccines and mosquito nets but in vain. The state government again requested for the nets in December, 2013 and yet again in March this year. But the last time the centre provided any aid against JE was in 2010 when 39 lakh nets were given for distribution to the Odisha government. Despite allocation of nets over the last five years by the centre, the nets and even vaccines have not been provided informed officials of the state health department. Rather, the state government provided 14 lakh LLIN nets on its own last year. Two months ago health secretary Arti Ahuja had apprised about the situation at a conference in Delhi but with no response.

There are at present 34 children, of which three are in ICU, are under treatment for JE in Malkangiri while 88 have successfully recovered. Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi conducted a review meeting at Secretariat recently regarding the situation in Malkangiri.

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