Sunday, February 18, 2018 | ePaper

Concern over public health in flood affected areas

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THE outbreak of waterborne diseases has increased sufferings of thousands of people as floodwaters are receding at different parts of the country. Acute shortage of safe drinking water and the lack of sanitation facilities further deteriorated the situation for people in the flood-hit 32 districts. Medical teams that the government have deployed in affected areas to address diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, fever, eczema and itching are proving partly ineffective because treatment facilities are not available to most people in time. Bulk of the medicine is also disappearing as dishonest team members are grabbing it and selling in black market.
Public health is the biggest concern in flood-affected areas. Lack of awareness and break down in rural communication system are also working as impediments to treating patients at early stage. The government is providing free medicine in the flood-affected areas but to many it is out of reach. 

In our views most people are becoming sick from waterborne diseases because of their life style. They must drink pure water for that they need to know how to purify water and preserve it. They must keep their home and environment clean. These are vital to avoid waterborne diseases and a person can help him better than a physician in this situation. 

In last two weeks over 21 thousands people were affected by various waterborne diseases while at least 38 thousands suffered from waterborne diseases since July 1 during the floods. Health Assistants said there is no shortage of medicines in the government's stocks and denied the allegation of distribution problem. The allegation is ripe that middlemen, local influential people, party men and a section of health service providers take away the medicine and sell those in the local market.

In Rangpur division, over seven hundred medical teams are working to alleviate the sufferings of the sick people but the diseases can be bolstered as many water-hit areas are too remote to reach. Many NGOs are providing medicines, oral rehydration saline, and water purification tablets for the needy in areas not getting the supplies from the government. Coordination, proper management, and responsiveness are the prerequisites for the getting optimum result from the diseases. And allegation of misusing the medicine against local influential people as well as health workers should be investigated and if found reality they should get punishment. The post-flood waterborne diseases is a customary phenomenon in the region, so adequate stocks of medicine and water purification tablets should be provided from Upazila to Union Parishad level for swift distribution to affected people. There must be strong watch on corruption and misuse of medicine at any level.

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