At a time when encephalitis has snowballed into a significant issue in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday made his first visit to the disease-hit Gorakhpur regionís Baba Raghav Das Medical College.
Accompanied by AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh and Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas RPN Singh, Azad will camp in the eastern UP region for two days beginning today. He also plans to visit other encephalitis-affected rural areas of the eastern UP including Siddhartha Nagar.
Sources said Azad was asked to visit the encephalitis-hit region by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, looking for a solution to encephalitis problem.
Reaching the BRD Medical College at around 4.30 pm, Azad visited the encephalitis ward number 12, which was cleaned for his visit a few hours earlier.
As most of the beds in the ward were occupied by at least two patients, Azad inquired about the scarcity of beds. Dr KP Khushwaha, head of the Paediatrics Department, told him that because of more number of AES cases, the bed occupancy was high. To another query, he was told the hospital had adequate supply of medicines.
Azad was defensive when one of the attendants of a patient questioned him about the lack of facilities at the hospital. Azad said he has, at least one-and-a half dozen times in the past two years, sent teams of medical experts and doctors from the Indian Council of Medical Research to visit the hospital and assess the situation.