A tragedy

Some of the children could have been saved had there been sufficient health facilities nearby. The nearest health post was 5km away; many parents had to carry their dying children on foot to reach it.

No ambulance and unequipped to deal with the number of cases, parents were forced to then take them to the nearest district hospital 55km away.

Without enough antidote and oxygen, many of the children were taken a further 70km to the state hospital. For some of them, it was too late.

A state in trouble

In the northern state of Bihar, 81 per cent of the population live in poverty and over half of children under three are malnourished. The free school meals are a lifeline to many families.

With poor infrastructure and facilities, Bihar struggles to respond to such a crisis. The average distance to adequate health care in the state is 62 miles; a similar distance for walking from London to Brighton.

We work in some of the remotest communities in Bihar providing mobile health camps in rural locations. A lack of public services has increased the demand for Lepra’s services across the state.

Our hearts go out to the families of the children sadly lost. Improving health services in the region could prevent such a tragedy ever happening again.