Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan has announced that five virological diagnostic laboratories would be set up at Gaya, Bhagalpur, Bettiah, Pavapuri and Nalanda in Bihar as part of the efforts to combat encephalitis in these areas.
During a visit to Muzaffarpur district of the state yesterday, he also said that a 100-bed paediatric intensive care unit (ICU) would be set up at the Sri Krishna (SK) Government Medical College Hospital there.
In the adjoining districts, 10-bed paediatric ICUs would be set up, Dr Harsh Vardhan, who is a medical practitioner, said.
He said the SK Medical College Hospital would be upgraded to super-specialty standards.
He said that, apart from the five virological diagnostic laboratories, two multi-disciplinary research units would be set up, one each at Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga. New research initiatives on encephalitis were also announced.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said a Model Rural Health Research Unit on Kala Azar would be set up in Muzaffarpur district.
He said the Medical Council of India (MCI) would be requested to look into extension of medical seats from 150 to 250. He also asked the officials to meet MCI requirements for medical seat extension. He stressed the need of preventive health and making healthy Indians a mass movement by enlisting participation of all sections.
During the visit, Dr Harsh Vardhan met the parents of disease affected children in Shahbazpur village in Kanti block of Muzaffarpur. He administered Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine to children in an Anganwadi Centre in Shahpur panchayat.
He inspected the primary health centre (PHC) at Kanti and met the indoor patients at the maternity ward of the PHC.
Dr Harsh Vardhan's three-day visit to the state was aimed at understanding the situation on the ground in one of the disease-affected states where morbidity and mortality of children in the current outbreak of encephalitis had caused concern in the Ministry.
He spoke about the efforts being made by the government to eradicate diseases such as Kala Azar, measles, filariasis and leprosy in the country. He said 100 per cent vaccination woud be ensured so that no child goes without immunization. He said the aim should be to achieve a drastic reduction in the infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the state.
In Patna, Dr Harsh Vardhan met Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi and told him that the Centre would do everything possible to halt the morbidity and mortality of mothers and children.
Mr Manjhi said the state government had taken many steps for improving the health scenario in the state and added that it was committed to give additional land of 50 to 100 acres for expansion of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna.
The Union Minister also visited AIIMS Patna and inspected the facilities being set up there. He met the faculty and students of the institute.
He announced that a School of Public Health and a Department of Environmental Health Occupational Medicine would be opened in AIIMS Patna.