Kala-azar grips Sarlahi; drugs in short supply

Sarlahi, April 19:

Medicines are in short supply at Trichandra Hospital in Malangawa, the headquarters of Sarlahi district, and people afflicted with kala-azar are languishing without treatment.

The hospital requisitioned medicines from the communicable diseases section of its head office in Kathmandu, but the stock sent was inadequate.

Senior health worker at the hospital Lata Shrestha said 500 vials were demanded, but only 100 vials came this morning.

Shrestha added that these would not be enough for even the 17 chronic kala-azar patients who were being treated at the hospital. All 17 patients were sent home as the hospital ran out of medicines.

Of them, Phuleshwar Roy of of Ward No 7 of Kishanpur village development committee has contacted the hospital again.

Ravindra Paswan, 10, of Taiwan Basti in Hariwan VDC 6, was brought to Trichandra Hospital after he became unconscious while playing with companions, said his mother Dukhiya Devi.

She said tests established that Ravindra had kala-azar and added that she had to take him home as there were no medicines at the hospital. “The doctor has told me to bring him again tomorrow,” she said.

Most of the kala-azar patients are from Taiwan Basti and their economic condition is very bad.

Secretary of the Sarlahi unit of the Federation of Community Forest Users of Nepal (FECOFUN) Uttam Kumar Mainali said most of the afflicted persons in Taiwan Basti have been selling off their cattle and other livestock to collect money for treatment.

Mainali added that his organisation was collecting funds to provide for those those who could not afford treatment.

Laxmi Shrestha said senior district public health office staffer Arun Kumar Jha had deputed malaria inspector Rambilas Mahato to go to the affected spot with medicines and medical

implements for conducting tests.

Local health post staffer Ramsewak Roy said lack of awareness among Taiwan Basti residents and unhygienic conditions created by them were responsible for the kala-azar outbreak.

Roy said the government had built toilets for these people, but they preferred to keep pigs, goats and chickens in these and use the backyard of their houses for lavatory purposes.