Minister Of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Friday said that the government has been working on a long-term plan to tackle acute encephalitis syndrome, which has claimed over 150 lives in Bihar this year, PTI reported.

Choubey said that the government was committed to providing benefits to children suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome under the Ayushmaan Bharat scheme. His remarks were in response to queries in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

The minister said that three high-level teams from the central government had been sent to Bihar in order to deal with the outbreak of the disease. He further added that Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan had himself examined 100 patients in four hours during his visit to the state.

The Centre and the state government have been on the receiving end of considerable criticism due to the deaths of children afflicted with encephalitis. On Wednesday, one more child died due to the syndrome, taking the toll in north Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district to 132. The total number of casualties across the state is now 154.

The state health department’s data showed that 23 out of 40 districts were affected due to the outbreak, and the total number of acute encephalitis syndrome cases registered since June 1 was 729. The Muzaffarpur district administration on Wednesday claimed that no new encephalitis cases or deaths were reported from the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in the past few days.