More efforts needed to contain waterborne disease outbreak

Published: 00:05, Sep 13,2017 | Updated: 23:38, Sep 12,2017

 
 

THE outbreak of waterborne diseases reported to have increased the sufferings of thousands of people who have been flooded since July is concerning especially in that the government should have been able to effectively contain the situation as it is an event typically forthcoming with every flooding. The emergency operation centre set up by the health services directorate general in the past two weeks recorded at least 21,014 people in 32 districts, where flood water has receded or is receding, suffering from various waterborne diseases. If the duration since July 1 is counted, at least 38,543 people have suffered from waterborne diseases during the flooding period. People in the areas are also faced with an acute shortage of safe drinking water and a lack of sanitation facilities, which have further complicated the situation. This has been happening with 2,993 medical teams being deployed to address diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, fever, eczema, itching and some others. All this suggests either the government has had no effective preparedness to attend to the issues or any such plans that the government has had are not being properly executed. The situation, as it has reached now, warrants more government efforts to afford flood victims some meaningful relief.
The director for disease control of the health services directorate general, however, sought to explain that they were supplying patients in flood-affected areas with medicine free and there was no shortage of medicines in the government stock. This may be entirely true but what counts here is how effectively the medicines could be distributed. There have already been allegations that many flood victims in some areas were not getting the medicines that they need, which the government agency involved said was incorrect. A local government representative in Kurigram, as New Age reported on Tuesday, also termed the supplies of medicine far too inadequate. Claims of the government and of the people, which in some cases contradict each other, point to a possibility of medicines being smuggled out of the process and sold on the market. If it so happens, the situation will worsen as health experts working to provide flood victims with medical treatment have warned that the outbreak of waterborne disease could further aggravate, especially in the Rangpur division and generally in the northern districts. The ray of hope that is visible is that many non-governmental organisations are providing medicines, oral rehydration saline and water purification tablets in flood-affected areas where people need them but are not getting them from the government.
The government, under the circumstances, must look into the allegations of people not getting the medicines that they require. There could be problems in the supply process and the government must deal with them efficiently. If the government finds the allegations to be true and anyone responsible, on investigation, for the situation, it must take stringent measures. The government, at the same time, must improve on the process of medicine supply and treatment of patients in the event of probable aggravation of the situation.

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