Keeping death at bay

In a bid to fight cholera, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works in association with UNICEF, UN-Habitat and Guthi has launched a door-to-door awareness campaign in the capital. The campaign is aimed to keep the scourge of cholera at bay by educating people about water purification methods recommended by WHO and distribution of chlorine in the impoverished communities and small food joints. Contaminated water and unhygienic food served in small eateries accounts for a large number of patients infected with water-borne diseases. However, occasional awareness campaigns are unlikely to contain the risk of the outbreak of epidemics, unless backed up by regular monitoring activities.

Moreover, it is more desirable that the government, the NGOs and INGOs instead extend their efforts to saving the lives of thousands of people hit by the Koshi floods who are highly vulnerable to water-borne diseases. With floods inundating a number of villages, victims have started suffering from diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, diarrhoea, gastroenteritis and pneumonia. Over a dozen people, at least, have died. If medical help cannot be reached to them immediately, the loss in terms of human lives could be much greater.

The government, which yesterday announced Rs.2.5 billion package for the benefit of the flood victims, should make sure that they do not succumb to death for lack of medical care.