Kathmandu: As the number of patients suffering from water-borne diseases rises with the onset of monsoon season, concerned bodies and organisations have begun conducting awareness programmes related to personal hygiene and sanitation.

Deepesh Raj Sharma, assistant programme coordinator of an NGO, Guthi, said they had launched

safe water and hygiene campaign to make people aware about pure drinking water, hygienic food behaviour, personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.

He added that they would establish around 100 booths in Kathmandu and Lalitpur slum areas and places where there are considerable number of squatters. He said their campaign was launched on Thursday and would remain in operation for more than two months when cases of water-borne diseases start declining.

Sharma said they were conducting community-based programmes and organising door-to-door campaign for making people more aware about safe drinking water. He said they were coordinating with Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited, ENPHO, UN-HABITAT, UNICEF and other concerned bodies. He added that Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City had promised to support the project.

One of the major causes of the outbreak of water-borne diseases is lack of awareness on personal

hygiene and consumption of contaminated food and water, opined Sharma. Considering that the campaign would focus more on raising public awareness on personal hygiene, household water treatment methods and hygienic food behaviour through temporary counselling booths and door-to-door visits, informed Sharma.

Pranay Kumar Upadhaya, senior public health officer at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, under Department of Health Service said the cases of water-borne diseases were being reported mostly from slums and squatter areas in Kathmandu. He said areas like Gongabu, Balaju, Jorpati, Swoyambhu and Kalani, where water sources run dry in dry season and are mostly contaminated, were flush with cases of water-borne diseases.

He said sanitation was one of the essential factors for controlling water-borne diseases like diarrhoea.

He cautioned against consuming food stuff from street vendors, who use contaminated water.

He said they were publishing leaflets and posters for making people aware about the diseases that can be transmitted through contaminated water. He said they were using radio, TV and newspapers to spread awareness on water-borne diseases.

He said number of cases of water-borne diseases could be brought down by as much as 80 per cent if people living in slums and the squatter population improve sanitation and eating habits. Upadhaya claimed that to control diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, jaundice people should be given access to safe drinking water and made aware of hygiene.

Dr Saroj Prasad Rajendra, director of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, said they had been recording an increasing number of diarrhoea and dysentery patients after the onset of summer. She said the municipalities of the valley, ministry of health and population and hospitals should coordinate to reduce the number of such cases.