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Kids dying of viral fever in Kurnool raises alarm in Andhra; NCPCR issues notice

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the Andhra Pradesh State Government over a report that stated many kids died of viral fevers while receiving treatment at the Government General Hospital in Kurnool, taking the toll to more than 100 in the District in the past one month.

Suffering from viral diseases ranging from dengue and malaria to chikungunya, at least 25 persons have died in the district headquarters and doctors are worried that deadly viral fevers are rampant in areas in and around Adoni, Yemmiganur, Srisailam, Nandikotkur, Pattikonda, Aluru, Kodumuru, Banaganapalle and Mantralayam, the report said.

The blame game started with doctors suspecting that these cases are due to seasonal climatic changes, unhygienic surrounds and also pollution of drinking water, while people blame officials for the causes saying the district medical and health authorities have failed to conduct medical or awareness camps.

The Commission has taken cognizance of the above matter stating that it amounts to violation of ‘children’s right to life, survival, health and development’, which need to be protected under Article 6 of the UN Convention in the Rights of the Child (ratified by India on 11.12.1992), Article 21 of the Constitution of India and Section 2(b) of CPCR Act, 2005.

The Commission has asked the State Government to take immediate measures as following:

(i) The total number of cases of children who have died at Government General Hospital, Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) and Health Sub-Centres in Kurnool District during last 03 months (Hospital/PHC/Sub-Centre – wise);

(ii) The existing mechanism for review of the health calamities in the District of Kurnool?

(iii) Whether the State Government was in the knowledge of the epidemic through its own departmental functionaries at the District/PHC level? Was this issue brought to the notice of the State Government by the concerned district Authorities. If yes, share the reports?

(iv) The actions taken by the concerned Departments at the State level, especially, by the Department of Health as well as Water and Sanitation to prevent dengue/chikungunya/viral fever;

(v) The emergency/immediate corrective measures being taken up now by the State Government and District Administration of Kurnool to address the problem?

(vi) The support (in terms of adequate doctors, nurses and other para medical functionaries, diagnostic facilities, medicines, indoor treatment facilities, etc) as well as guidelines/instructions given (if any) to the Hospitals/PHCs/Sub-Centres by the Health Department to protect children from dengue, chikungunya and viral fever/diseases;

(vii) Whether the existing Public Health System (PHS) in the District is adequate to cope with the calamity? If not, what measures have been contemplated for revamping the PHS?

(viii) The steps taken by the State Government to improve the water and sanitation conditions in the affected areas in the wake of the health calamities such as dengue, chikungunya and viral fever;

The State Government has been asked to furnish an initial Action Taken Report (ATR) in the above matter within 15 days.

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