In a positive development, the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) lauded the Uttar Pradesh government for successfully immunising every child against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (ASE) across 38 affected districts under its ‘Dastak’ campaign.
A big shout out to #UttarPradesh for immunizing every child in the state against Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome under the #Dastak campaign! ?#VaccinesWork for #DimagiBukharSeJung#EveryChildALIVE #WorldImmunizationWeek @CMOfficeUP @MoHFW_INDIA pic.twitter.com/4ww8aCdgOx
— UNICEF India (@UNICEFIndia) April 25, 2018
Most of the 38 affected districts are found in the Tarai region of Eastern UP, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total cases reported in India. Under its Dastak campaign, the government, with assistance from UNICEF, went door to door in JE and AES-affected areas to ensure every child undergoes timely vaccination, according to The Financial Express.
Through its health, rural development and primary education departments, the administration undertook not only a mass immunisation campaign but also spread awareness about the diseases, initiated sanitation drives, and set up provisions for clean water.
Last May, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had flagged off the campaign.
“Vaccination should be completed by March-April, and special emphasis should be on sanitation and cleanliness drive in villages by creating awareness among people. The help of educational institutes and self-help organisations should also be taken for this,” the CM had said.
As per data published by the Directorate of National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, between 2010 and August 2017, there were over 26,000 cases of encephalitis reported in Uttar Pradesh. Of these, 24,668 cases were of AES and 2,018 of JE. Over 4,000 succumbed to AES, while the number of JE deaths was 308.
To the uninitiated, JE is a potentially fatal infection of the brain caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus transmitted by an infected mosquito. Symptoms of this deadly disease include a violent headache, vomiting, fever, stiffness of the neck, and seizures.
This infection is prevalent in places with warmer weather and erratic rainfall, where there are higher chances of water stagnation. Chances of getting infected, increase in areas where the where the virus is common or when people travel through these affected parts over a long period of time.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)