Gorakhpur Tragedy and Japanese encephalitis

Technical and operation view; Think beyond oxygen

As part of its training in public health and hospital administration, IIPHG organizes special periodic sessions on Contemporary Issues in Public Health. This allows its participants to apply their knowledge and skills, acquired throughout its various academic programs to understand, analyse and intervene in contemporary public health problems.

On 31st August 2017, Dr. Dixit Kapadia, a student of Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health and one of the twenty medical officers nominated by Gujarat Government in the course discussed “Gorakhpur Tragedy and Japanese Encephalitis – Technical and operation view; Think beyond Oxygen”. The session was chaired by Dr. Dileep Mavalankar, Director of the institute and was attended by over 120 students of its MPH/MHA/PGDPHM, faculties, researchers and short-term training participants.

Detailed discussion happened on reasons of mortality including those that appeared in mainstream media such as shortage of oxygen supply in the critical care unit of a tertiary care public hospital in Gorakhpur.

Key issues that emerged from the discussion were failure of existing public health system, which has allowed “encephalitis” to become an annual outbreak in the region. There was also in-depth discussion on epidemiology of Japanese Encephalitis, Demography of Gorakhpur, relationship between JE (AES) and Gorakhpur, Statistics related to the issue, and opinion by research, Media expert. Discussion happened on lessons learnt from the incidence and way forward with regard to future strategy for prevention and control of JE, strong epidemiological and real time data surveillance, use of standard clinical and operational protocols, efficient referral – follow-up linkages with primary health services, investment in developing and deploying expertise in public health management and hospital management, and mandate credible, transparent and accountable procurement systems with electronically monitored inventories of drugs and consumables. It was also emphasized that such contemporary issues should be taken up more frequently for healthy discussion on various public health problems.

“We are targeting the fruits; While problems lie in the roots”