Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada, July 18: Though unfortunately seven precious lives could not be saved, the district administration and Utkal Alumina swung into action to further contain the outbreak of diarrhoea in Kashipur block of Rayagada. Govt hospitals in Tikiri and Kashipur and Utkal’s Oshapada hospital got equipped with necessary beds, equipments and necessary medicines to address around ninty affected persons from villages namely Thutibar, Maliguda, Tikiri Jhodia Sahi, Dudukabahal, Panchali, Kodipari, Khurigaon, Rualpeta, Andirakanch, Podapadi, Surugunja, Gobarighati, Sankarda, Badamaribhatta, Rautaghati, Kakudipadara, Jalakura, etc. A few medical camps were set up to address the emergencies. Mobile health Units were on continuous move to the affected villages.
Serious cases were referred to District Headquarters Hospital(DHH), Rayagada and Sahid Laxman Nayak Hospital and Medical College(SLNHMC), Koraput. Till date, 25 stool, 20 water and 60 bloof sample reports had been collected from several affected villages. A team from Regional Medical Research Centre(RMRC), Bhubaneswar under the leadership of Dr. B B Pal arrived in the district and analysed the the water & stool samples. Two eminent professors from SLNHMC namely Dr. Kailash Nayak & Dr Rudra Pradhan had visited the temporary medical camps and discussed with the medical staff. Dr. Lal Mohan Rautray, Chief District Medical & Public Health Officer(CDM&PHO) confirmed that the spread was due to contamination of water source.
All these efforts of the district administration were coordinated by Collector Ms Swadha Dev Singh in person. Torrential rains, muddy and slippery roads did not deter her in visiting the highly affected villages like Dudukabahal & Tikiri Jhodia Sahi with a team of senior district & block level officials. Strict instructions were issued to disinfect water sources, repair of dysfunctional tube wells and solar dual pumps. She even told Dudukabahal’s Naib Sarpanch in a village to inform her if Rural Water Supply & Sanitation(RWSS) deptt did not repair the dual solar water pump in their village. After discussing with the family members of deceased persons, she directed the BDO to release financial assistance from Red Cross. Instructed Utkal authorities to keep 30 beds specifically for treatment of diarrhoea patients.
In the mean time, MP Sri Sapatagiri Ulaka had visited the spot and blamed the state for not being able to provide safe water to the villages even after seven & half decades of independence. As many of the water supply stand posts were not functional, Rayagada MLA Sri Makaranda Muduli, who visited the affected villages alongwith Zilla Parishad Chairperson Ms Saraswati Majhi, instructed the authorities to take the concened contractor to task.
According to Dr.Uma Charan Panigrahi, who is a senior doctor himself, “Administration must inspect and others be made aware of the source of disease to ensure hygiene, sanitation, water supply, fly/mosquito control, household animals/birds, food sources, etc much before risk periods. I felt concerned about the safety of Rayagada District Collector constantly risking a sprained ankle while negotiating slippery village roads for which she should’ve pulled up the negligent.” Nevertheless, a catastrophe could be avoided due to sincere coordination of various efforts and management of the issue by Singh.
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