Child Deaths in Bihar: Moral Responsibility or Lack of Thereof

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

Had this happened in any other country, it would have ended a lot of political careers and yet deaths of hundreds of children from encephalitis didn’t seem to be a problem for Nitish Kumar’s government in Bihar. The chief minister who was miffed about seat sharing formula in center and also made a point about it was more concerned about the public scrutiny these deaths triggered than saving lives of the affected children.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) which is caused by malnutrition, heat and unhygienic conditions, all factors preventable by proper governance, is blamed on Litchi. That’s the irony and grief of this country, politicians prefer to run away from responsibility rather than taking it. It’s a shame that when knowing this problem resurfaces again and again every year in smaller or larger proportion Bihar government did nothing to address this health concern. Four years are sufficient to build better hospitals, improve existing facilities, alleviate malnutrition and implement cleanliness programs but Nitish Kumar was busy in saving his chair so how would he get time for health problems in state. I am surprised by the response of center at this issue, why didn’t Prime Minister intervene here? I was shocked to know that the death rate by AES in India is worst than some of the poorest countries in Africa.

It’s also the responsibility of media to keep people abreast of the problem but some sensationalist reporters would rather add fuel to fire rather than questioning those in power. People should boycott these arm chair journalists and their TV channels. We as people should wake up to these politicians and their middlemen ruining this country. It’s a collective shame that incompetent governments take people lives for granted and trust me the death toll is much high than actually being told in media. There is no use of development or growth rate if children in our country are sleeping hungry.

A government is a reflection of its people and we can become better at asking questions to those we have chosen.

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