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Anti-flourosis drive launched in Hojai dist
Ajit Patowary
 GUWAHATI, Feb 23 - The Anand-based research institution Indian Natural Resource Economics and Management (INREM) Foundation in Gujarat, which recorded the first success in curing skeletal flourosis among children at Jhabua village in Madhya Pradesh with the application of a low-cost, indigenous treatment procedure, has now launched the second phase of its anti-flourosis drive in the State’s worst flourosis-hit Hojai district.

In this venture, it is supported by the Kampur-based voluntary organisation Environment Conservation Centre (ECC), the State Health Department and the Hojai District administration.

The INREM Foundation, with the active participation of the volunteers of the ECC, the officials of the Health Department and the Hojai District administration, has been able to cure the skeletal flourosis of several of the children of Tapatjuri area under Binnakandi Development Block of Hojai district, applying the Jhabua model.

Till the entry of the INREM Foundation in the scene, it was thought by the Public Health Engineering and Health Department experts here that skeletal flourosis has no cure. But the INREM experts, led by septuagenarian physician Dr D Raja Reddy, could bring about a change in their outlook. For the purpose, the INREM team had to work for long two years.

After attaining initial success at Tapatjuri, the INREM has now intensified its efforts to train up the Aganwadi workers and supervisors of the worst fluoride-hit Hojai district in the Jhabua method of treatment of the flourosis-affected people with a view to make the district free from this curse.

With this aim in view, the INREM Foundation teamed up with the ECC, the Health Department and the district administration of Hojai.

The first training was imparted to 30 Anganwadi workers and supervisors of the Binnakandi and Jogijan Development Blocks of Hojai district on February 21 on the Jhabua model at the Tapatjuri Flourosis Mitigation Support Centre (FMSC).

Dr Achyut Kumar Bora, consultant of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Flourosis and Dharani Saikia, secretary of the ECC and assistant State coordinator of the INREM, Assam unit. While Dr Bora spoke on flourosis, Saikia spoke on the efficacy of the indigenous fruits in preventing the dreaded disease.

Saikia explained in details the nutrient values of the indigenous fruits and vegetables, which contain calcium, magnesium, anti-oxidant, D and C vitamins and how they work in a human body and prepare it in its fight against the dreaded disease.

Food items that contain the ingredients such as mineral salt, black tea, among others, which are rich in fluoride, should be avoided to prevent flourosis, he said.

The event was inaugurated by Amalendu Bikash Paul, the public health engineer, who first discovered excess fluoride and arsenic in the groundwater of the State and detected for the first time the flourosis and arsenocosis-affected people in the State.

Paul made an appeal to the Aganwadi workers and supervisors to undergo the training in a devoted manner so as to bring an end to the curse of flourosis in the district.

The concept of the Flourosis Mitigation Support Centre (FMSC) is a brainchild of Paul.

Aganwadi supervisor Bina Bora suggested that the boiled leaves of drumstick plants should be used as a component of the food served to the children in their mid-day meals at the Aganwadi Centres of the district, particularly of the worst fluoride-hit development blocks of Binnakandi and Jogijan. Drumstick has the qualities to check flourosis.

There are 381 Aganwadi Centres under Binnakandi Development Block, while Jogijan Development Block has 337 Aganwadi Centres under it.

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