Diarrhoea under control, scars abundant

KATHMANDU: The deadly diarrhoea seems to be under control now. But, the scars inflicted by it are still abundant.

A head of a six-member Dalit family in Majhkot VDC of Jajarkot fell prey to the epidemic while he was conducting after-death rituals of his deceased son and daughter-in-law. And after the demise of the caretaker, three minors of the family also died to the disease.

Though sounds filmy, it is the a true story, according to Shamsher Nepali, a Maoist cadre, who had reached the village as part of the Integrated Public Health Campaign launched by his party - UCPN-Maoist.

According to Nepali, the heartrending part of the story is there was nobody in the family to claim relief distributed by the party and the government. Finally, the relief was handed over to a close relative.

"This is only an example of many incidents that took place in the district since the outbreak of the diarrhoea," Nepali told the reporters in an interaction at Janasanchar Abhiyan organised by IPHC today. Those involved in the campaign claimed that government presence in the affected areas was negligible. "The government officials and health workers only went to the district headquarters and the places easily accessible," he said adding that the major causes for the diarrhoea outbreak were food deficiency and the quality of the food they were consuming, besides the impure water and open toilets.

Political parties and the government made aware the people politically, but never taught them the importance of sanitation, he said.

Nepali said the people in the remote areas of the district save rice for festivals and occasions and they do not care whether that is decayed thus unhygienic for consumption. "We need to seize those decayed foodstuffs and provide them fresh rice or else the epidemic will never come under control," he suggested.

Dr Ramu Sharma, another involved in the campaign, said even the local leaders, who claimed to be well versed with the country's politics, were not knowledgeable on how to use Jeevan Jal -- the most common and easily available medicine to treat the diarrhoea. At times, according to him, media also were biased reporting against the Maoists.

Another health worker Sandesh Neupane said there was dearth of health workers and medicine in the far flung areas but the government was yet to address the woes of the people.