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Preventing water borne diseases
Staff Reporter Dimapur:
Published on 6 Aug. 2009 1:22 AM IST
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More than 70 cases related to water borne diseases have been reported for the last three months in Dimapur, Dr. Tali Longkumer, Zion hospital disclosed. And about 5 cases of suspected Japanese encephalitis (caused by mosquitoes) were admitted to Zion hospital in the past months, out which four cases were confirmed to be Japanese encephalitis. The effected areas in Dimapur include Thilixu village, Purana Bazaar, Diphupar area, Lingrijan, veterinary colony. According to reports issued by the Dimapur District Malaria Officer, out of the eight cases suspected four cases has been confirmed as Japanese encephalitis positive however the result for the rest is yet to be confirmed. According to DMO from January 2009 till July 2009, more than 300 cases of malaria and water borne diseases have been reported in Dimapur though cases from other districts such as Mokokchung, Peren, Mon and Wokha are also being brought to Dimapur for treatment. DMO Dimapur when contacted by this reporter stated that measures have been taken to control and check any such outbreaks in Dimapur district. The identification of the water borne diseases in the locality, when ever it is detected and information to the concerned authority (govt. departments, hospital authorities, district administration, police) help bring any outbreak in the neighborhood under control. According to a study water borne and air borne diseases such as diarrhoea kills more children worldwide than HIV and malaria combined. More than one billion people in the developing world have no safe drinking water, 2.4 billion have no sanitation, leading to water-borne diseases (e.g. cholera, typhoid), water-related diseases (e.g. malaria, yellow fever, river blindness, and sleeping sickness), water-based diseases (e.g. guinea worm and bilharzia) water-scarce diseases (trachoma and scabies), making them a leading killer of children in the world. Interacting with this reporter, Dr. Tali Longkumer, Zion hospital, Dimapur disclosed that most water borne diseases are spread by contamination of drinking water systems with the urine and faeces of infected animals and humans which contain pathogenic micro organisms. Studies have revealed that improving access to clean water and sanitation would dramatically reduce illness and death in poor countries: a clean water supply reduces diarrhoea-related death by up to 25%, while improved sanitation reduces it by 32%. The only way to break the continued transmission is to improve the people’s hygienic behaviour and to provide them with certain basic needs: drinking water, washing and bathing facilities and sanitation. Malaria transmission is facilitated when large numbers of people sleep outdoors during hot weather, or sleep in houses that have no mosquito protection. Dr. Tali disclosed that water borne diseases can be transmitted from where public and private drinking water systems get their water from surface waters (rain, creeks, rivers, lakes etc.), which can be contaminated by infected animals or people. Runoff from landfills, septic fields, and sewer pipes, residential or industrial developments can also contaminate surface water. Public wells should be well protected; sides of the well should be cemented, and should be properly drained out so that the waste water does not sink inside the well. Identification of the sources of diseases, followed by immediate proper treatment is an important step in controlling the water borne diseases. Proper disposal of waste and not allowing infected people to handle food in restaurants, public functions help in checking the diseases. He further disclosed that the government department should put more stringent rules in terms of vaccination programme such cholera and typhoid, polio and hepatitis-A. Dr. Tali lamented the fact that water borne diseases projects were not being taken up even by NGO’s for the mere fact that less donations and sponsors used to volunteer for tackling such projects, not knowing that the real killers are the water borne diseases today.

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