Is the UP Government Hiding the Death of People Due to Fever?
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
10 September 2018. Noorpur, Bareilly: Horse cart driver Chotelal took fever-stricken Premlal and his family to the health centre in Mazgaon, situated at a distance of two kilometres. The crowd was so huge that there was no scope of treatment until midnight, so they had to go to a private clinic.
The doctor assesed that Premlal be taken to Aligang or Bareilly to get him treated. Chotelal knew that Premlal’s wife Nannhi Devi did not have the money to hire a tempo. By the time she reached Aliganj with Premlal, he had already succumbed to the disease.
In the month of September, several districts of Uttar Pradesh including Bareilly and Badayun have been plagued by Plasmodium Falciparum malaria. According to official statistics, as provided by the government, holds the number of deaths due to fever, since February at, 84.
However, in Bareilly itself, government tests have determined 17,110 people with the fever, between 13 and 24 September. 6071 cases out of this are of Malaria (PF). Official figures show that there have been 25 deaths in Bareilly due to the fever since the 25th of September. Bareilly’s Rampur, Faridpur, Mazgaon and Bhumaura are the most affected areas with Mazgaon’s Beheta Buhurg being the worst, with a death toll at 9.
Beheta Bujurg, with a population of 8000 have witnessed its highest deaths due to the fever.
We reached the village around 10 in the morning on 25 September. There was a long row of people in the road that connected the village to the nearby village of Bistartganj. People were carrying patients on bikes and bicycles. There were dozens of patients for whom medicines proved to be inadequate.
The village head Bhagwan Das’ figures are at 9 while the government figure is at 4. But statistics will fail to tell the tale of Bhuparam’s suffering.
After conceiving her fifth child, Bhuparam’s wife was already bed-ridden before trouble struck the household. His youngest daughter had high fever on the night of 22 September. She had been suffering from fever for the past three days but she was doing comparatively well on the 22, before the fever struck again. With minimal finances, Bhuparam woke his neighbour Veerpal, so that they could take his daughter to Bistarganj in the soaking rain. She succumbed to the fever upon reaching the place. This was the 10th death of the place due to the fever.
Official figures show that the number of deaths in the village due to the fever is four. But villagers claim that the toll is 40.
While we were returning to Bareilly, we found a large crowd gathered outside Babu Abbasi’s house. 55-year-old Abbasi succumed to the fever on 25 September and people had gathered to mourn. This was the third life that the fever had claimed in the household.
On 23 August, Abbasi’s daughter-in-law Nargis passed away from the fever. 12 days later, his elder son Lakhki Mistry met the same fate.
Babu Hassan, Abbasi’s neighbour, who was present at the mourning, was enraged upon hearing the official death figures. He said:
There is not a single death from Noorpur recorded in the official statistics. Several names like Meenakshi, Prempal, Lakki, Nargis, Haneef, Banke, Motini, Ompal, Gangdevi, Chandrakali and Ompal have not been recorded.
The government has its own way of working. It manages disaster on two levels – one on the ground and the other in documents. Data provided by district officials about the number of deaths due to Malaria Falcifarum is 25. Leaving one case, none of the other deaths have occurred at a district hospital. People have died either in their home or in district hospitals.
After medical examinations, 25 deaths were determined to be caused due to Plasmodium Falciparum malaria. But there are 21 such cases where the cause of death have been dengue or a fever other than falciparum. The official documents show the death toll to be 46.