Preventable deaths

Over two dozen people have lost their lives to diarrhoea in Saptari district in the last few weeks, with 50,000 considered at imminent risk of contracting it. A comparable number has succumbed to diarrhoea in Rautahat district where 42 VDCs have been gripped by the water-borne disease. Similarly, the VDC of Sarikhet, Makawanpur, has witnessed eight deaths. The undocumented cases of diarrhoeal dea-ths in all outlying areas are likely to be much higher.

Diarrhoeal deaths in Eastern Nepal in and around the monsoon season occur every year but little progress seems to have been made with regard to reducing the number of fatalities and improving the health condition of the vulnerable groups. Most of the deaths have been attributed to dire shortages of medicine and qualified medical staff on the ground. But surely, prevention is a much more effective and cheaper option than the costly and at times unattainable cure. Sadly, most people in the areas hit hard by diarrhoea are totally ignorant about even the simplest preventive measures against water-borne diseases. For instance, just boiling consumable water would drastically cut the rate of infection from majority of the bacteria causing diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and typhoid. But even this simple message is yet to filter down to the grassroots level. As a result, hundreds of people are losing their lives quite needlessly.