New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) The government Thursday okayed a proposal to tackle the spread of the killer disease encephalitis in 60 priority districts of the country over a five-year period.
The green signal was accorded at a meeting of the union cabinet here chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"The proposal of the ministry of health and family welfare for the implementation of the intervention/activities recommended by the Group of Ministers (GoM) for prevention and control of Japanese Encephalitis (JE)/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) will be implemented in 60 priority districts for a period of 5 years from 2012-13 to 2016-17," said an official statement following the meeting.
The ministries responsible for implementing the programme are health and family welfare, drinking water and sanitation, social justice and empowerment, housing and urban poverty alleviation and women and child development.
Focussed interventions will be done in five states - Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The major activities include public health interventions, expansion of JE vaccination, improved case management, medical and social rehabilitation, improved provisions of drinking water and sanitation in rural and urban areas and improved nutrition.
The cabinet approved the implementation of interventions/activities for JE/AES for the following ministries out of the budget available during the 12th Plan.
The health and family welfare ministry will get Rs.1,131.49 crore, while the drinking water and sanitation ministry will get Rs.2,301.57 crore and the social justice and empowerment ministry will get Rs.9.19 crore.
The housing and urban poverty alleviation and women and child development ministries will also get additional funding - the former getting Rs.418 crore and the women and child development ministry getting Rs.1,77.85 crore.
"The implementation of the proposal will substantially reduce the cases of JE through strengthening of JE vaccination and vector control. It will also reduce AES cases by checking the transmission of entero-virus in children through the supply of safe drinking water and enhanced nutritional status of children.
"This will also reduce burden of disabilities due to AES in young children," the statement said.
Japanese encephalitis is transmitted by mosquitoes to humans and affects a large number of people in India every year especially in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, the actual host to the killer virus are pigs and birds, from which it is transmitted to mosquitoes.