'Poor sanitation, diarrhoea linked'

KATHMANDU: Dr GD Thakur, director of Leprosy Control Division under Ministry of Health and Population, who was assigned the task to oversee treatment of diarrhoea-afflicted people in Rukum, said lack of health awareness and personal hygiene were the major causes of the disease taking an epidemic shape.

Addressing a press conference organised to disseminate the reality in the affected areas, he said it would take two more months to tame the outbreak. The main problem witnessed in the field was the lack of cooperation among the concerned groups. All the groups are effortful to control the disease but in their own ways.

He said the government would continue with its surveillance of the disease and public awareness to minimise its effect in participation with INGOs, NGOs and political parties.

"We carried out a week-long campaign of distributing chlorine, two packets of Jeevanjal and a soap to each household in Rukum," said Thakur. He said five of 43 VDCs in the district were the most affected.

Dalits, women and the poor were the most affected by the diarrhoeal outbreak. Dr Thakur said after the prime minister's declaration of providing relief to the victims, more and more deaths were registered but they were not necessarily new. He said the toll figure was not dependable.

He appreciated the help provided by the Maoists' People's Liberation Army, Nepal Police and Nepali Army in treating the sick. MoHP recorded 279 deaths till yesterday.