Black Fever Patients in Bihar Await Help

taja wAnhaari village, Sitamarhi district. According to the state government policy in Bihar, patients are to be given a sum of 1400 rupees for treatment of ‘kala azar’ (black fever) to ensure they eat nutritious food. However, patients of in Sitamarhi district’s Riga block are still to receive financial help from the government.

Talking about the presence of kala azar in the village, Ramesh Sada, a resident of the village said, ‘Kala azar has been present in the village since 2009. Between 2009 and 2013, almost each household had a patient but then doctors from the Primary Health Centre would visit the village. The government was supposed to give patients financial assistance so they can eat nutritious food, but only a handful like Dinesh Majhi and Kamla Devi have received this amount. Several other patients are still waiting.’

The Chief Medical Officer of Sitamarhi, Dr Arvind Kumar Gupta, said that funds from the district had been passed on to respective blocks for distribution to the beneficiaries.

The health manager in Riga block, Prashant Kumar said, ‘The money for kala azar patients for Anhaari village has been sent. In all likelihood, the reason people have not received the money is because they don’t have bank accounts and have not submitted their account numbers to the Health Manager.’

In the meantime, Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan visited the state in September 2014 and announced that he would target eradication of the disease from India by 2015. A 4-day survey was kicked off on 5 September in the most affected districts, one of which is Sitamarhi. While the District Magistrates are to monitor the plan, state level supervision is expected to come from the Chief Minister himself.

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