UP: Scorching Heat Snuffs out 68 Lives in a Week, Highest in Ballia
Photo: Special Arrangement
Lucknow: The frustration and confusion on the faces of visitors can't be missed as one enters the out-patient department (OPD) at the Ballia's district hospital. The situation is catastrophically worse after at least 54 people have reportedly died in the last three days, with officials claiming these deaths happened due to different reasons including heatstroke.
Photo: Special Arrangement
Uttar Pradesh is currently facing one of the worst heat-related situations in years, with nearly 3,500 cases of heat stroke and at least 68 deaths reported already. According to data from the Directorate of Health Services, the number of cases has doubled compared to last year. The state health department didn't respond as to how there were 121 heat-related deaths in Ballia alone.
Ramsukh Yadav (57), a forest range officer from Ballia, allegedly died of heat stroke at the community health centre (CHC). He was on duty for gardening and site inspection ahead of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's visit to Jai Prakash Nagar in Ballia. He suddenly fainted on the ground. He was shifted to CHC where the doctor declared him dead.
The prevailing inhospitable condition has become a cause for concern for the district administration. A group of doctors from Lucknow have reached Ballia to investigate the cases.
In a similar case, a 28-year-old policeman posted at Nagar Kotwali in Banda district died on Thursday purportedly of a heat stroke. Constable Yadvendra Yadav was posted on B. Ed exam duty at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Degree College in Banda, said police.
Yadav, a resident of Ghazipur district, fell sick while on duty. His colleagues rushed him to the district hospital, where he died during treatment, a press release by the police media cell read.
The number of patients with heat stroke conditions, diarrhoea, vomiting, and high fever has increased in hospitals across the state.
Ballia and Bundelkhand are the worst hit with mercury logging an average of 43-44 degrees Celsius in most districts. Banda and Mahoba continue to simmer under an unprecedented heat wave.
Diwakar Singh, the chief medical superintendent, was removed and transferred to Azamgarh owing to poor management at the district hospital.
Health Minister Brajesh Pathak, who is also the deputy chief minister said in a statement, "A careless statement was given by the CMS (Ballia district hospital) without any information about the heat wave. Therefore, he has been removed from there immediately. However, the government has taken serious cognizance of the incident in Ballia published in newspapers. Two director-level senior doctors have been sent to the spot to look into the causes of the deaths. They will present a report to the government."
The minister further said he was personally monitoring the situation and instructed all hospitals in the district, officials to identify and treat each patient.
Dr Jayant Kumar, Ballia Chief Medical Officer (CMO), addressing the media said, "I learnt that at the Ballia District Hospital, more than 30 deaths had happened in three days. The highest number of deaths occurred on Thursday. I then visited the district hospital and spoke to all doctors, including the Chief Medical Superintendent. However, the real cause of death will be known only after the postmortem report comes," Kumar told NewsClick.
When asked about the reason behind the sudden deaths, he said that it was found that most and almost all these deaths are of people aged above 60 years. They were being treated and had undergone tests at the district hospital.
Photo: Special Arrangement
As per district health department records, on June 15, 154 people were admitted to the Ballia district hospital, and 23 died. On June 16, 137 people were admitted and 20 succumbed, while 11 deaths were reported on June 17.
Meanwhile, soon after the deaths, the district administration swung into action and keeping in view the challenge of heat stroke, a special ward has been made and coolers have also been installed. Proper arrangements have been made to ensure treatment for heat stroke when necessary, a doctor told NewsClick.
The leaves of the doctors and health workers of the district hospital have been cancelled. ASHA workers are instructed to search for serious patients in the villages.
'WORSE THAN COVID SITUATION'
The narrow roads of the old town turned into a nightmare as locals claimed the situation has been worse than the Covid-19 period. They said that they have not seen people dying in such large numbers in the city.
Nirbhay Yadav, a journalist in Ballia, speaking to NewsClick, said that the death toll is more than double of what the district administration is giving.
"The data that the administration is giving is on those people who were admitted to the hospital. There are those who could not come due to a lack of ambulance, they do not have their data. More than 121 people died in Ballia in a week. We are on the ground and we can see the chaos in the hospital. The CMS, who has now been removed, had stopped putting out the health bulletin due to the sudden deaths of people."
Another journalist working with Ballia Khabar told NewsClick, "Before the incident, not even the fans were there in the hospital. Now the fans and coolers have been installed. There are two ministers from Ballia including Danish Azad Ansari and Daya Shankar Singh; but, none of them visits the hospital as they are busy with the programme of Modi's nine years."
He said the situation at the cremation site is "grim" as people were seen making a beeline for cremation -- bringing to memory the Covid situation when a dozen of decomposed corpses at the bank of the Ganga in Ghazipur and Ballia had scared off the villagers.
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