The Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state of Uttar Pradesh seems to have recovered from the initial shock it received from the Gorakhpur tragedy. The Gorakhpur tragedy caught the attention of the nation as it claimed the lives of upto 325 lives of children in the state. The newly elected state government in the state had set into damage control mode and had tried to prevent loss of lives by whatever way possible. Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) and Japanese encephalitis (JE) had been the primary reason for the casualties in the state. The disease has a ghastly record of claiming lives, there are 5,850 documented deaths in 2014, 6,917 in 2015 and 6,121 in 2016 all arising from Japanese encephalitis alone. As of 2nd September 2017, the disease had claimed another 1,317 lives which included the lives lost in the Gorakhpur tragedy. While fingers had been pointed at the CM Yogi led BJP government the mainstream media had forgotten to point out the havoc this disease caused every year and how the earlier governments in the state have neglected it or at best sidelined the devastation it caused year after year.
CM Yogi had launched the ‘Dastak’ campaign to make people aware of the dangers and risks associated with Japanese encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. The program started in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund also taught people ways to stay safe from the deadly diseases. To counter the deadly disease which affected upto 38 districts of the state, the state health department was appointed as the nodal agency in UP. Other departments such as Urban Development, Panchayati Raj, Women and Child Welfare, Rural development, Medical Education, Animal Husbandry etc. were asked to cooperate with the health department to ensure minimum damage. A vaccination drive for children up to 15 years of age was also started as children of that age group are the worst affected. Launching a sanitation drive and involving the educational institutions were other measures taken to combat the problem.
The efforts shown by the UP government and officials have begun to bear fruits, the results clearly indicate a drastic fall in the number of deaths caused due to Japanese encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. Out of a total of 1,427 reported cases of AES and JE in the state till August 9, 2018 there have been a total of 111 deaths. A drastic fall both in the number of cases reported and in the casualties which occurred. This is a clear indication of CM Yogi and his team’s success in countering a disease which till date used to claim thousands of lives each year. CM Yogi and his team also deserve special praise for eradicating cases of the AES and JE in many districts this year. CM Yogi has fulfilled on the promises he made during the Gorakhpur tragedy and it shows his capability as a leader, one who performs rather than proclaims. Though there is still a long way to go in completely eradicating the casualties occurring from the AES and JE, it is a great start nonetheless. Kudos to CM Yogi, his team and the officials of UP.