Diarrhoea patients on the rise

Contaminated food, water taking its toll

Kathmandu, July 27:

Durga Prasad Pokhrel fell ill along with his family members 15 days ago. Pokhrel’s four-year-old daughter had to be rushed to Kanti Children Hospital, his 60-year-old mother was taken to Kathmandu Hospital while he and his wife got themselves treated in a nearby medical hall.

Pokhrel, a professor at Tribhuvan University, said, “I felt dizziness, while my wife and other members of my family started vomiting after eating mangoes bought from street vendors. When I consulted a doctor, he said chemicals used to ripen mangoes could have caused vomitting.”

Not only Durga Prasad Pokhrel, Kamala Khadka of Madhyapur Thimi has also been suffering from diarrhoea for three days. Khadka, an insurance agent, said food and water served by different people at different places could have rendered her ill. “Such unhygienic and stale food served by eateries might have caused diarrhoea,” Khadka added.

Dr Laxmi Raj Pathak, director of Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, said cases of diarrhoea were on the rise because of contaminated food and water.

“The unhygienic food and fruits ripened by the use of chemicals can also cause diarrhoea, vomiting and other health problems,” he added. According to the hospital, the number of patients visiting the hospital in the month of Ashadh (June-July) increased to 640 from 393 in Jestha (May-June). The number of diarrhoea patients visiting the hospital has reached 252 by the first week of this month. It might reach up to 800 by the end of this month, hospital staff Shambhu Khadka said.

Though more and more people are getting ill due to the consumption of contaminated food, water and artificially ripened fruits, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DoFTQC), the government body responsible for monitoring quality of food, is yet to take action against unscrupulous traders, who have been playing with people’s health.

Jeevan Prabha Lama, deputy director general at the DoFTQC, said that the department was not monitoring the quality of goods due to the lack of equipment required to carry out quality tests.

“We cannot punish traders without ascertaining the quality of edible commodities. However, we are raising awareness among consumers about our health and hygiene,” she added.