public healthcare

Bill Gates to help Uttar Pradesh fight encephalitis

In 2017, the disease affected 4,772 children; 588 of them died.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has promised to help the Uttar Pradesh government fight encephalitis. On Friday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates met Chief Minister Adityanath and promised to support the state’s efforts to prevent and control the deadly viral infection, PTI reported.

Encephalitis is one of the biggest health challenges faced by Uttar Pradesh. In 2017, encephalitis affected 4,772 children; 588 of them died, according to The Times of India.

The crisis was made worse on August 10 and 11, when 72 children died at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital, after there was a disruption of oxygen supply. Many of these children had acute encephalitis syndrome, a general term for inflammation of the brain.

“We look forward to their support in areas such as tracing causes of the disease, strengthening research and suggesting a plan for for better encephalitis control,” principal secretary, health and family welfare, Prashant Trivedi told The Times of India, confirming a verbal agreement between the state and the foundation.

Adityanath said his government will also take the foundation’s help to improve on mother and child health. Gates said his organisation will work to control vector-borne diseases and improve sanitation.

On Thursday, Gates said the real challenge in India was to get people to use the sanitation facilities available. “Part of our Swachh Bharat partnership with the government is to try and make sure the toilets that are built are not so bad that you’d rather not use them,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, Gates spoke about enhancing agricultural production in India, at Visakhapatnam. He also praised the Andhra Pradesh government for using technology to help farmers in the state. “AP is taking bold steps,” he said, Mint reported.

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