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Malkangiri: Child deaths reaches 100

fact finding team

Malkangiri: The dismal situation in Malkangiri continues as both state government and Centre continue to look helpless and to an extent disinterested. As many as 100 children of the district have fallen prey to various illnesses, primarily encephalitis. While 30 children died of Japanese Encephalitis (JE), 58 succumbed to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and 12 deaths occurred of other illnesses like pneumonia, septicemia and so on taking the toll to 100.

An indomitable gloom has spread across the villages in the interior district where life revolves around little else other than family and children. Everyday a few more children are declared dead at the district headquarters hospital escalating the panic that has already gripped the locals.

On Friday, three more children fell to various illnesses including JE death of Lilukumar Halua of Dongaguda village in Korukonda block, Surendra Madhi of Dariguda of pneumonia and Preeti Sodi of Surulukonda who died of septicemia.

As per government reports 315 children were admitted to the district headquarters hospital here in the last 64 days of which 201 children were discharged after recovery and right now 26 kids are under treatment of which four are in ICU.

Local community members have alleged that despite state government’s JE control steps deaths continue since the government is unable to find out the root cause of the children’s illnesses. Numerous visits of state government  authorities like health secretary and ministers, as well as NGO and state and Central governments’ fact finding teams have been in vain as the situation continues to be dismal. Recently, a nine member fact finding team visited the district two days ago but is yet to give their report.

The fate of the remaining children of the district seems to be in either helpless or disinterested hands of authorities who have failed to prevent further deaths. While state authorities keep blaming of lack of supply of vaccines and mosquito nets, Central government wards off allegations. Any concrete and urgent action, apart from forming more expert teams, is yet to be taken.

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