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‘Centre’s initiatives not implemented by TMB’
Shambhu Boro
 TEZPUR, July 31 -The inhabitants of Kamarchuburi and Ghorparachuburi areas under Tezpur Municipal Board are facing the threat of dreaded diseases like Japanese Encephalitis and malaria, it is alleged that the Health department here is quite reluctant tackle the problem.

It is to be stated here that the area which was once a vast open field is now occupied by people, who have migrated from across the State with the setting up of Tezpur Central University, Napam KVK, Tezpur Medical College and Hospital near here etc. However, the local people feel that a section of the new settlers in the area after purchasing their plots from land owners constructed their residential buildings haphazardly, leaving no room for drainage.

A social worker of the area and noted writer Mahendra Kumar Nath said that the area will one day face a problem no lesser in magnitude than that faced by the people of Guwahati’s Anil Nagar area today, and said this was only because of the lack of civic sense among the citizens of the greater area comprising more than 3000 families.

Meanwhile, though different areas in Sonitpur district starting from Gohpur to Dhekiajuli area have a history of different water-borne diseases like JE, malaria, diarrhoea, jaundice etc., the Health department has not been seen taking appropriate preventive measures. The problem which has become a regular occurrence is normally compounded due to floods in the summer season.

Though no deaths from dengue, malaria and Japanese Encephalitis/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE/AES) have been reported this time around, many cases have been reported from the above-mentioned diseases and even a few deaths were reported during the last three years.

One of the officials of the district health department here who didn’t want to be named said that the responsibility towards combating the problems by the Health department is duty of the State Government and the Government of India supplements the efforts of the State Governments by providing technical assistance by way of guidelines, training, additional human resources and guidance during field visits. In addition, Government also provides commodities like DDT, diagnostic kits, drugs, smoke emitting van in the vulnerable areas.

“The Government of India has also taken steps like developing a long-term action plan and sending it to the States for implementation for prevention and control of dengue and other water- borne diseases, national guidelines for clinical management of cases thereby sending it to the States for circulation in all hospitals, for augmenting diagnostic facilities numbers of Sentinel Surveillance Hospitals (SSHs) with laboratory support has been increased to 394 across the country from 110 and linked with 14 Apex Referral laboratories with advanced diagnostic facilities for back-up support for dengue and chikungunya across the country,” the officer said adding test kits are provided to these institutes through National Institute of Virology, Pune free of cost.

He also mentioned that for effective control of malaria, steps like continuous surveillance for detecting cases and providing radical treatment to positive cases at all levels including at the community level through ASHA’s, vector control by carrying out indoor residual spray and distribution of LLIN in high-endemic areas, community mobilisation and inter-sectoral coordination for enlisting their participation, monitoring of situation through IDSP for detection of impeding outbreak, rapid response team at the district level for immediate response in epidemic situation etc., have been taken by the Central Government. “But due to the mismanagement by certain unscrupulous officials, the noble idea of the Health department is yet to reach the Affected people in the true sense,” he alleged.

Briefing this correspondent, the official further mentioned that in view of high burden of JE/AES in the five States like Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal which contributes around 85 % of the JE/AES burden in the country, a national programme with a multi-pronged strategy for Prevention and Control of JE/AES in 60 highly-endemic districts of these States was started in the year 2012-13 involving the Ministry of Health & FW, Ministry of Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation, Ministry of Women & Child Development, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Housing and Urban poverty alleviation.

“Strengthening and expansion of JE vaccination in affected districts, strengthening of surveillance, vector control, strengthening of case management by setting up 10 bed paediatric ICUs in 60 district hospitals and timely referral of serious and complicated cases, access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to the target population in affected rural and urban areas, provision of adequate facilities for physical, medical, neurological and social rehabilitation and improvement of nutritional status of children at risk of JE/AES, Intensified IEC/BCC activities are the major initiatives to prevent the JE,” he stated.

However, echoing the social worker of the Ghorpara Chuburi area, Mahendra Kumar Nath, he lamented that despite having such a huge number of government schemes for combating these diseases, besides many malaria-prone areas in Sonitpur district, his locality is yet to be noticed by the Sonitpur district health department.

Urging the people of his locality to be socially aware while doing construction works he asked them to maintain the drainage system in the area, thereby relieving the area from water logging problem. Nath also appealed to the Health department to do the needful to save the area from susceptible water-borne diseases.

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