Too little, too late
The diarrhoea in Jajarkot district of the Mid- Western Development Region has already taken about a hundred lives, and the disease has reached epidemic proportions with casualties also being reported from neighbouring districts.
The situation would not have been so severe had immediate remedial actions been taken to control the disease which surfaced in April when the Maoists were in the government. The people in the area have now to pay for the gross negligence then, as now the government is having a difficult time in containing the epidemic with those afflicted with the disease said to be numbering about 6,000. The government was late in sending the required relief to the affected areas, and although rescue efforts are being carried out now they have not been able to reach some of the remote areas. Helicopters with medicines and medics and other logistics have been sent to the area and the army and police mobilized, but reports of deaths from the epidemic are still trickling in showing that efforts to contain the disease have not been successful and the epidemic is still posing a serious risk to those residing there, particularly in the remote areas of Jajarkot and other neighbouring districts.
What makes this epidemic very tragic is that diarrhoea is a preventable and curable disease, and that people are dying from it adds to the frustration of not being able to reach the affected on time so that their lives could be saved. Besides, the medicines are easily available and the method of treating the disease is simple, the more serious cases apart that need medicines and saline water drips. Had medical aid reached the victims in time
the number of deaths would not have been so high. Furthermore, since most of the able bodied men folks are away from home in the district to other places for their livelihood, the children, women and the elderly are mostly victims to the disease
and hence very vulnerable. The locals of the affected district have genuine grievances against the government, and they have accused the government of doing too little too late. This also shows that the health delivery sevices in the districts are almost non-functional, an unfortunate reality when “health for all” is the grand rhetoric.
The immediate concern now would be to stop
the epidemic so that more people do not lose
their lives and those afflicted with the disease
have immediate access to treatment. Lack of awareness amongst those residing in the affected has
also exacerbated the malady. Since diarrhoea is a water borne disease, safe drinking water should be easily accessible to all. Awareness should be raised amongst the people as to what they can do to prevent the epidemic and to seek immediate treatment when infected with diarrhoea. As for now, additional health centres have to be set up and the present ones should be adequately equipped with medics and medicines. Furthermore, an adequate number of doctors should be sent to the affected sites and the government should treat the epidemic as an emergency and reach even the remotest area where there is a threat of the disease.
When well-known CA members and popular artistes take to the field in a friendly for a cause then the obvious response is jubilation. Saturday saw very prominent MPs and comedy artistes play the ball for charity to raise money for the treatment of Dinesh Baniya, a former national volleyball player, who needs a kidney transplant at the earliest. The magnanimity for a worthy humanitarian cause must be applauded. It also shows that the MPs can set time aside from the political squabbles that dominate their lives and the comedians devoted to bringing a laugh or two in the mundane life of the people can get down to do more than that in real life.
This is one of the instances when pure altruism has flowed in the midst of the cutthroat rat race that overshadows our social life. These small gestures aimed at doing something to save the life of a compatriot is but remarkable and deserve the blessings from the heart. If only the momentary flashes of the heart were a part and parcel of everyday life, life for all would have been more bearable. But, these are just temporary relief in the turf that has turned into a battle zone of conflicting interests.