More people suffer from waterborne diseases
By Mukhtar Alam
KARACHI, September 01 2005: People falling sick after the consumption of contaminated water in certain localities of Gulshan Town continued to pour into hospitals and healthcare centres on Wednesday August 31 also. Two persons had died and hundreds others had fallen sick in the outbreak of waterborne diseases on Saturday August 27.
A source in the Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad said that about 17 people were brought to the Liaquatabad hospital till late Tuesday August 30 night, whereas 10 more turned up on Wednesday August 31. These patients were brought in from Essa Nagri, Mannoo Goth and Noor Mohammad Goth, the localities where the tragedy had initially struck.
So far, about 1,000 people have been treated for different waterborne diseases in the nearby government and private hospitals and emergency camps set up by the city government’s health department. The temporary camps were closed down on Monday August 29 as the health officials felt that the gastroenteritis epidemic had subsided.
A health official of the city government said that the cases brought to the Liaquatabad hospital on Wednesday August 31 were not of very serious nature and they were given medicines for vomiting and gastroenteritis.
The additional medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Mohammad Yameen, told Dawn that as many as 150 people affected by “unsafe water” were brought to the hospital since Friday last, out of whom 58 were admitted for treatment, while others were sent home after necessary medication. He said about 28 patients of waterborne diseases, including 20 children, were still hospitalized.
In reply to a question, he said two patients reporting to the hospital on Wednesday were retained for comprehensive treatment as their condition was serious. He said a couple of patients treated earlier in the hospital for gastro problems again turned up at the hospital for treatment, claiming that they fell sick again as they consumed the contaminated water supplied to the area.
Area resident claimed that though KWSB staff was carrying out restoration work, water quality in some parts of the localities was still questionable. The water still smelled filthy, they added, and urged the authority to initiate measures for a permanent solution of the water problem.
A resident reported that a child in Noor Mohammad Goth and a woman in Essa Nagri died on Tuesday and because of the water contamination problem. However, the casualties could not be confirmed from other sources.
The EDO health, Dr Khalid Shaikh, said that emergency camps set up by his department worked there till Monday. “However, our staff are in contact with people in the area and emergency ambulance service is also available,” he added.
In the meantime, a health worker from an NGO said that patients from affected area came to his centre for the first time on Saturday. On Wednesday too 4-6 patients were treated at the centre in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, he added.
The chief engineer (Water Distribution), Asudomal, said that KWSB staff checked over 150 water connections of different houses in the areas and repaired the precarious ones and fixed about 20-25 loose connections. The exercise would continue further, he added, saying that water quality had remarkably been improved in the area now.
Any official report about the condition of water available through pipes in the affected localities has not been made public so far.
The Health department and the water board staff had collected samples of water from different points in the areas some 3-4 days back and sent those to respective laboratories for analysis, added another source.