Monsoon aggravates waterborne diseases
* Shabby civic infrastructure responsible for sewerage water’s mixing with drinking water
By Haris Hanif
KARACHI: After the fresh monsoon spell, scores of waterborne diseases, particularly gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and malaria were being reported at various private and government hospitals, said health experts while talking to Daily Times here on Sunday.
Waterborne diseases like Cholera, Hepatitis A & E, Typhoid and Gastroenteritis break out due to the consumption of polluted water and contaminated food items sold by roadside vendors.
In Karachi, water and sewerage infrastructure is in a poor shape and in many areas sewerage lines run parallel to waterlines, which makes drinking water polluted due to leakages.
The fresh monsoon spell in the city has raised the spread of waterborne diseases particularly diarrhoea, and gastroenteritis besides malaria and jaundice as there are chances of gutter water’s mixing with potable water because of leaking pipelines and overflowing gutters.
Gastroenteritis or stomach flu is a viral or bacterial infection, caused by a number of viruses and bacteria that grow manifold during or after rains and the symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea with abdominal cramps. Unhygienic drinking water is one of the major causes of the disease in the city.
It is worth mentioning here that nearly 150 people suffering from gastroenteritis were reported in last couple of days from a locality of Murad Memon Goth in Gadap Town.
Some of them were shifted to the Sindh Government Hospital Saudabad while others were treated at a camp established in the area where only one doctor along with a handful of paramedics was available under open sky, which showed the seriousness of authorities concerned.
Last year, gastroenteritis spread in Kashmiri Mohalla and Bengali Para of UC-3, Landhi due to contaminated water, leaving two people dead and scores of others suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea.
After rains, the stagnant water becomes highly polluted with different chemicals and causes various skin and eye diseases. The children should avoid playing in accumulated rainwater and parents should keep them away from rainwater puddles. As many as 1.2 million people die of waterborne diseases in Pakistan every year, of them 250,000 are children under the age of five years, they informed.
The health experts have strongly advised people to use only boiled water and avoid outdoor meals, especially during rainy season. Majority of areas in the city receive contaminated water and such incidents had occurred in past as well.
They asked people to avoid drinking non-boiled water and taking unhygienic meals bought from outside. In case of any waterborne disease, patients must report to the hospital and drink more and more water mixed with some salt, or use ORS, they advised.
They said people must themselves take measures in order to avoid diseases, since the shabby civic infrastructure of Karachi does not seem to change overnight.
In interior Sindh, an outbreak of water-borne diseases added to the woes of people already affected by the monsoon rains.
According to National Disaster Management Autority, 85,404 rain-affected people are suffering from malaria, out of which, 1,660 are in critical condition. As many as 71,857 people are asthma patients, 35, 343 are suffering from cholera while 59, 763 are suffering from skin diseases.