Report by Basant Rath; Nabarangpur: Diarrhoea deaths alarming in the district once again. Whenever the rainy season comes, death from food poisoning and the waterborne diseases of diarrhea follows in this tribal dominated district. As the rains are a natural phenomenon, can the deaths also be natural and unavoidable? It is reported that the official death toll hit 11 out of which 6 in Chandahandi block, 3 in Jharigam block, one in Umerkote,Tentulikhunti, and Kosagumuda block respectively.
The district health officials still in dark verdict the details of the diarrhoea, contaminated water sources and the virtual absence of health care claim dozens of lives in the district.
According to official figures, six people died in diarrhoea, and 5 in food poison in the district as on September 12. Unofficial reports put the toll at more than 20. The reasons for the recurring phenomenon are not far to seek: contaminated water sources and the virtual absence of health care. To make matters worse, a large number of posts of doctors and paramedical staff in government hospitals are lying vacant.
A large number of those who are affected are tribal people who live in hamlets that have no approach roads. Safe drinking water is still a dream for thousands of families here who fetch water from forest streams and rivulets. The Zilla Parisad President, Motiram Nayak, after visiting Chandahandi block claimed that the situation was under control, teams of doctors were sent to Chandahandi, with distribution of bleaching powder, saline, halogen tablets and ORS ( oral rehydration solution) pockets in the worst-hit areas, Said Nayak.
The district administration apparently giving attention on the measures required to avert diarrhomea. Collector Yamini Sarangi, review meetings at various levels were urged to help in the process of providing medical attention to people. Efforts were also made to carry out an awareness campaign to make people adopt hygienic practices and draw water only from disinfected wells and tube wells. pockets in the worst-hit areas.
It is apparent that non-availability of safe drinking water, lack of awareness about sanitation and food poisoning among the tribal people, are the main reasons for so many deaths. Many tube wells still awaited repair in the worst-affected blocks of Nabarangpur district.
Significantly, many deaths in inaccessible areas in the districts have not been officially recorded. As many as of the 70 posts for doctors in health institutions in the districts are not filled. For instance, whereas 117 doctors were approved for the Nabarangpur district, 70 posts still remain vacant. Doctors are reluctant to work in this area, simply because it is less developed. It is a disadvantaged tribal area. This reluctance may stem from the following considerations negative attitudes and discrimination from the medical staff against the poor tribes, hard-to-get to centres, basic distrust of this type of medical treatment, alleged local MP, Pradeep Majhi.
Expressing dissatisfaction, over the vacancies Mr.Majhi said Centre UPA Government providing adequate funds under NRHM to improve health facilities but the state govt fails to provide basic health amenities to the peoples of this district. Even the health department not grim of diarrhoea fails to provide medical teams to this district to take of the situation he added.