Patna: Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Saturday flagged off 28 ambulances to tackle Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in seven districts in the state.

Muzaffarpur, that is currently the ground zero of AES, will receive eight ambulances while East and West Champaran are getting five ambulances each. Sitamarhi is to receive four while Samastipur, Gopalganj, and Siwan are to get two ambulances each.

Pandey said that with the addition of 28 ambulances, total number of moving emergency vehicles has gone up to 426 in eleven AES-affected districts in Bihar.

The minister flagged off the medically-equipped vehicles from the office of State Health and Family Welfare Institution in Patna. Besides carrying emergency equipment, the ambulances are also hauling medical kits to detect AES in patients showing symptoms of the disease that continues to take lives in Bihar as the state, like the rest of the nation, struggles to battle coronavirus.

Speaking on the occasion, Pandey said that an 100-bed Pediatric Incentive Care Unit (PICU) is ready to be opened in Muzaffarpur which is the first of its kind in the nation.

"This hospital will become operational in a week. Besides, a 60-bed encephalitis ward has been added to the Sri Krishna Memorial College and Hospital (SKMCH)," he said.