Posted by Engadgets on May 15, 2018 09:16:31In the Indian state of Punjab, the number of cases of infantile reflux and encephalopathy has skyrocketed in the last two years.
The most alarming figures are reported to be those from the state’s two biggest hospitals.
The hospital in the city of Panchkula, where the cases have surged, reported an average of 14 cases per day between February and September this year, compared to 12 per day last year.
And the state-run Panchkayasal hospital in Chandigarh reported an increase of 1,700 cases in the same period, which is a jump of more than 50 per cent.
While the government is still blaming the epidemic on the “high number of diarrhoea patients” and the “low level of hygiene”, the situation is far from better for the young.
According to the latest figures from the National Institute of Health, there are an estimated 25,000 children aged under 10 in Panchkiasal, a city of more 1.5 million.
The number of infants in the district has doubled over the last three years to about 4,000, with an average age of 10.7 months.
It has become a magnet for the pandemic’s biggest outbreaks, with cases among young children climbing from more than 2,000 in 2014 to 4,500 in 2017.
At a meeting on Thursday, the health ministry and health authorities announced a $10 million package to help the district.
“We have been very impressed by the efforts of the district administration and the hospital administration, especially with the focus on hygiene,” said health secretary R.N. Gopalakrishnan.
He said the health department has been able to provide “high-quality facilities” and provide “adequate and well-designed nursing homes”.
But a report by the health secretary, who is part of the PanchKula administration, said the district is not fully equipped to handle the number.
“It is a district where there are few facilities.
We do not have proper ventilation, we have no adequate sanitary facilities and we have not prepared enough children to care for them,” said Gopalaks health secretary.”
We are not ready to accept a large number of babies and we are not able to deal with the huge number of newborns,” said the Pankaj Sharma, an advocate with the rights group, Advocates for Children, who has campaigned for more than a year against the district’s failure to take adequate measures to contain the outbreak.
“There is a lot of frustration and anger, but there is also the desire to do something,” Sharma told Engadges.
“The government must do something to save these children.”
The state government has said it is investing $1 billion in the area.