Three more die in Rukum

RUKUM: Three more persons have lost lives to diarrhoea in Rukum district. Phuli Damai (70), Dudi Pun (51) and Ananta Pun (48) of Aathbisdandagaun VDC died last night.

Earlier, the epidemic was noticed in 13 VDCs, but it affected four more villages today. The death toll has reached 29 with 2,134 people ill, according to District Police Office Rukum. As many as 200 are said to be critically ill.

Thirteen patients have died in Gotamkot, three in Syalakhadi, two in Garayala, two in Purtimkanda, five in Aathbisdandagaun and one each in Banfikot, Magma, Aathbiskot and Hukam VDCs so far.

In Gotamkot, around one thousand persons have been taken ill, while the figure stands at 348 for Aathbisdandagaun VDC. Paramedics are still in short supply in the affected villages, despite claims that the VDCs have been supplied with adequate quantities of medicine. The Mission Hospital in Chaurjhari has sent medicine to Bijayshwori and Kholagaun VDCs, unaccompanied by health workers, locals said.

In Jajarkot, the toll has climbed

to 137 while the outbreak is said

to be spreading. Health workers are yet to reach a dozen VDCs, including Dhime, Paik, Majkot, Nayakdanda and Sunwanauli.

The government has mobilised more than 150 health workers in the district. Diarrhoea Control and Management Committee coordinated by CDO Resham Bahadur Pandey is blamed for the failure in mobilising the health personnel. Some of them are still stationed at district headquarters while others have been helping out uninstructed.

“The outbreak has stayed due to the haphazard distribution of medicine and health workers,” said Dr Krishna Hari Subedi, chief, District Public Health Office Jajarkot.

Division heads reach out to affected areas

KATHMANDU: Three division heads of the Ministry of Health and Population have been sent to various VDCs of diarrhoea-hit districts in the west in order to monitor the check up and treatment works being offered to locals.The deployment follows the instruction of minister for health and population to appoint joint-secretary level officers at every camp set up in VDCs of districts under the grip of diarrhoea.

Dr Padam Bahadur Chand of MoHP has been sent to Jajarkot district, while Dr GD Thakur, Director of Leprosy Control Division, and Dr Laxmi Raj Pathak, director, National Centre for AIDS & STD Control, has been sent to Rukum and Surkhet, respectively.

“We are hopeful that the diarrhoeal outbreak will be controlled within two weeks,” said Dr Vishwo Raj Khanal, acting director, Epidemiology and Disease Control Department.

The deployed division heads are said to have started their task of monitoring and coordinating at various levels. Dr Khanal said the officials are helping create awareness among people about the curative as well as preventive measures in the affected areas of the far western region.

Talking to The Himalayan Times today, he said an agreement was reached yesterday among Home Ministry, Ministry of Local Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Population and security agencies for tiding over the health officials for containing the epidemic.

Dr Khanal said the ministries were ready to develop a mechanism at the local, district and the centre levels in order to cope with the epidemic after the President on Thursday expressed his concern over the tragedy.

Additional medicine was dispatched from Nepalgunj today in the region where around 200 medical personnel have been mobilised. Despite reports of unabated deaths in the region, Dr Khanal claimed the number had somehow been controlled.

He said the disease had been affecting adjoining areas as well.

A number of NGOs, civil society members, social activists and security personnel have been helping out in the effected areas. Out of the 121 deaths recorded at the MoHP, 110 were caused by the diarrhoea.---HNS