A mysterious disease that has spread across four VDCs of Banke district has over the past week taken a toll of 36 lives, and a further 36 patients out of 500, are reported to be in critical condition. Those lying on deathbed or whose family members have died have accused the government of indifference. Though the district public health office states that it has dispatched a team, the disease is yet to be diagnosed; even blood tests could not be conducted. According to an assistant health worker stationed at Gangapur health post, medicines have been given to some victims, and another pharmacist is reported to be administering antibiotics, assuming the symptoms to be of common cold. This, indeed, is an unsafe way of handling a problem of this magnitude.

Year after year, the government is confronted with the same challenge of protecting the people from deadly viruses and potentially fatal ailments. But efforts have fallen far short of the needs in terms of medical facilities and efficiency of service delivery system. Nevertheless, the health department must come to the rescue of the afflicted. Major swaths of the countryside suffer from one or the other curable and preventable disease from time to time. Timely response is of the essence in such circumstances. The unknown nature of the disease makes the need for well-coordinated action even more acute and the services of senior medical professionals all the more necessary. Else, more deaths are bound to occur.