Patna: The Bihar government, following Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s visit to Sri Krishna Medical College & Hospital (SKMCH) on Tuesday, came out with a set of measures to check the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak. (Also read: ‘Been Happening For Years, It’ll Stop Once Rains Start,’ Says JDU MP on Outbreak)

Addressing the media, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar said, “The Chief Minister gave a few directions. He said the main reason of deaths is that patients reach hospitals late. It’s been reiterated that patients won’t have to bear any expense in coming to hospitals. Their fare will be reimbursed, they’ll be given Rs 400 at flat rate.”

As to the lack of healthcare in Muzaffarpur, the CS said, “The CM also gave directions that though there is no dearth of doctors and all of them are carrying out their duties but to complement them, some doctors will be brought from outside. Some doctors from DMCH & PMCH are being sent there today.”

The Chief Secretary said, “We are creating awareness that children shouldn’t sleep on an empty stomach and be immediately brought to the hospital if they fall sick. We’ve given directions that all ASHA workers, ANMs, Anganwadi workers distribute ORS in all households tell them its importance.”

He added that a team would visit all houses where children have been affected, to know their socio-economic and environmental background. The team would assess their condition, poverty, sanitation and see if there was an environmental factor behind the outbreak.

In keeping with the Centre’s directive on increasing the capacity of the hospital, the CS said that SKMCH will be converted into 2,500-bed hospital eventually. At present, it has only 610 beds. In another year, it’ll be taken up to 1,500 beds. A 100-bed paediatric ICU will be made there with 50-beds. A dharmashala will also be built there for relatives & families of patients.