Centre and States will share cost of Rs. 3,355-crore on a 90:10 basis

The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), proposed by the Group of Ministers, will be monitored and supervised by an inter-departmental committee chaired by the Union Health Secretary. The cost-sharing for the implementation of the programme between the Centre and States will be on a 90:10 basis.

The Rs. 3,355-crore programme, to be rolled out in phases, will be jointly implemented by the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Women and Child Development. The largest chunk of money will be spent by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, amounting to Rs. 2,301.57 crore, followed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's Rs. 864 crore. The estimated cost to the Women and Child Development Ministry will be Rs. 177 crore and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will shell out Rs. 11.5 crore.

To be set up with the goal of reducing morbidity, mortality and disability in children due to the JE and AES, which claim hundreds of lives every year and leave hundreds physically and mentally disabled, the programme will deal with strengthening and expansion of JE vaccination in affected districts, strengthening surveillance, vector control, timely referral of serious cases and increasing access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to the target population in affected rural and urban areas.

The disease burden is high in 171 districts, spread across 19 States. In the first phase, the programme will be implemented in 60 districts in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Considering that 30 to 40 per cent of surviving children suffer from physical and mental impairment, the Health Ministry has decided to establish a physical medicine and rehabilitation department at 10 identified medical colleges in the five priority States. The departments will be equipped to provide specialised care to persons with locomotor and neurological disorders with the objective of reducing disability and handicap. U.P. will have three PMRD centres; Assam, West Bengal and Bihar will get two each and Tamil Nadu one. Along with PMR departments, the Ministry will establish 60 counselling centres at district hospitals in priority districts for rehabilitating the children who have been rendered disabled.

Special needs

Importantly, it has been decided that a joint team of officials from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will draw up a tailor-made curriculum for children with special needs and also set up special schools and training centres in 60 districts based on the needs of affected children.

While the Ministry of Women and Child Development will take special measures to train and sensitise anganwadi workers and their supervisors regarding JE/AES, it will also provide additional take-home rations to moderately undernourished children enrolled under the Integrated Child Development Schemes in these districts.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will install deep bore hand pumps, mini water supply schemes in habitations where JE/AES cases are reported, ensure solid and liquid waste management and provide water-quality testing of all public sources in all the affected 60 districts along with sample testing for virological examination.