With reports of 49 deaths and 190 positive cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE), the Assam government has kept on hold leaves for all doctors and paramedical staff across the state, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.
Sarma said that any kind of emergency leave will, however, be granted only with the prior approval of the Deputy Commissioners (DC).
“Unauthorised absence from the place of posting even after duty hours will be treated seriously amounting to criminal dereliction of duty,” he said, adding that all Additional Deputy Commissioners, Joint Director (JD), District Medical Officer (DMO) will compulsorily tour affected areas regularly along with visiting of at least two hospitals per week
The Minister has also instructed the state’s Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, to hold a weekly review conference with all DCs and JDs to ensure the vigil continues.
According to Sarma, the 49 deaths were reported from January till July 5. He said that the state was currently undergoing a transmission season for Encephalitis, adding that all the districts of Assam except Kokrajhar are currently under the influence of the virus.
The Minister said that the situation was under close watch and all preventive measures were being taken.
“The vaccination for Encephalitis through the routine immunization for children is currently going on regularly. Realizing the importance of adult vaccination was done in 20 districts during 2016-17 where the coverage was about 68 per cent,” he said adding that there is a need for adult vaccination mop up to prevent the outbreak in all the remaining districts.
Giving details about the state’s response to deal with the crisis, Sarma said that 12.8 lakhs blood slides have been collected and diagnostic services for JE were already available in all district hospitals and medical colleges.
“After the identification of Japanese Encephalitis cases, the affected areas are covered extensively for awareness generation, intensified fogging operation. A total of 1,094 affected villages have been covered through intensified fogging operations already.”