Death toll due to diarrhoea epidemic has reached eight as four more persons died while hundreds have been admitted to various hospitals of the City. Several people are still being admitted to hospitals as there seem to be no end to the diarrhoea dilemma.
The epidemic which broke out in the Ravi Road vicinity has spread to other parts of the metropolis.
The Provincial Health Minister Dr Tahir Ali Javed, District Nazim Mian Amir Mahmood visited the affected areas while the District Coordination Officer (DCO) Khalid Sultan has set up a task force to combat the situation. According to hospital and police sources, those who have died due to water contamination are: Zeshan (13), Aerish (2), Shifa (8-month-old), Guria (4), Makhan Masih, Waqas (7), Fariha (12) and Sardaran Bibi.
Health experts opined that it is primarily due to consumption of contaminated water.
‘This particular epidemic is basically because of unhealthy drinking water. As long as people do not get clean drinking water it is impossibile to either eliminate or contain diarrhoea’, said a senior physician at a local hospital. ‘Dismissing an SDO or two will not work till the govt comes up with a comprehensive plan to do away with the porous pipelines sucking drainage water which is distributed to the consumers’, said a doctor seeking anonymity.
’Pressure has mounted on the hospitals during the last two days due to constant arrival of patients and definitely, there is a space constraint for the new arrivals. Serious patients, after their condition becomes stable, are being shifted to medical wards to accommodate new arrivals’,he said.
Over 235 patients were admitted to the Mayo Hospital while more patients were continuously pouring in.
‘During the last two days we have received more than 200 patients.Only five of them were admitted while the rest were discharged after their condition was declared stable’, said Dr. Mazoor Alam Chaudhary, Additional Medical Superintendent Accident and Emergency Department of the Mayo Hospital.
‘We are well-prepared to receive all kinds of emergencies with ample quantity of medicine in our stocks. 200 extra beds are available to us in addition to our existing capacity. Overall, the situation is under control’, he said.
Fifty-year-old William Masih of Marzipura came to Mayo Hospital in the afternoon and by the evening his condition was stable.
"I was vomiting profusely despite the fact that I had not eaten anything for the last 24 hours," he said. His brother John, who was accompanying him, said that boiling of the poisonous water does not make a difference.
"Our family is drinking boiled water but most of our family members are suffering from diarrhoea," he said.
One of the relatives of Makhan Masih (died after he was discharged from the Mayo Hospital) said that it was a case of gross negligence on the part of the hospital authorities.
"If they had taken their job seriously, Makhan Masih’s life would have been saved. The govt officials, instead of just visiting the affected areas, must take notice of the apathy of doctors," said John, who was attending his another relative suffering from diarrhoea.Sardaran Bibi also died at her residence after getting treatment from the Hospital.
Another resident of Marzipura 40-year-old Muhammad Shafique said that when the water is boiled, ‘one sees soap-like fumes on the surface of the water. What is the use of boiling the water when it cannot be cleaned’.
According to Dr. Tehseen of the Mian Muhammad Munshi Hospital, 51 patients were admitted since Wednesday morning while 5-6 patients per hour were turning up.
‘However, two serious children – 8-month-old Muskan (stable now) and 6-month-old Aashi were referred to Mayo Hospital’.
Deputy Medical Superintendent of the Lahore General Hospital (LGH) Dr. Muhammad Hafeez said that 200 plus diarrhoea patients have been admitted so far during the last two days.
‘No casualty has taken place but more patients are coming in every hour.We have enough arrangements to deal with the prevailing situation’,he said.
According to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, nine diarrhoea patients have been admitted till the filing of this report.
Out of them – Mushtaq of Mozang Adda and Iram of Safanwala Chowk – are stated to be in serious condition.
District Nazim Mian Amir Mahmood visited the affected areas.
He said that new water pipelines and sewerage would be laid.
Later,the Health Minister also inspected mobile health service and supply of clean water through WASA tankers and Rescue 1122 services.
The Punjab Health Minister Dr Tahir Ali Javed and the District Nazim also visited houses of the victims and expressed their deep sense of sorrow and grief.
They also inquired about the health of people affected by gastroenteritis and assured them of the best medical treatment.
The Punjab Health Minister Dr Tahir Ali Javed has directed the officials of Health Department and teaching hospitals to provide free of cost medical treatment to the affectees of Kasurpura, Marzipura and Shafiqabad.
He also directed the Rescue 1122 Director to provide ambulance services to the people of the area and make available at least two ambulances round the clock so that affected people could be shifted immediately to the hospitals for necessary medical treatment.
He said all the hospitals of the City have been directed to provide necessary treatment facilities and medicines free of cost.
Director General Health Services, Director CDC, Punjab and EDO (Health) have been mobilised and directed to take necessary measures.
All major hospitals of Lahore have been directed to remain vigilant and take effective measures for treatment of diarrhoea patients.
Mian Muhammad Munshi Hospital has been put on special alert where 200 beds have been reserved for diarrhoea patients and all staff has been directed to remain available round the clock.
The City District Government has set up a task force under the Chairmanship of District Officer Health-I (DOH-I) Lahore to combat the situation.
DCO Khalid Sultan while presiding over an emergent meeting on Wednesday gave details of the measures to cope with the situation and said that a number of measures have been adopted to provide medical cover to the people of affected localities.
Eight medical camps have been established in the area at Mian Munshi DHQ Hospital-I, Infectious Diseases Hospital Bilal Gunj, Government Degree College for Women (Bund Road), Government Dispensary (Karim Park), Health House of Mst. Sajida LHW, Mohallah Ferozepura Gali No.9, Sunrise School, Marzipura, House of Sheikh Saeed Ahmed, Abadi Sheikhana Gali No.9 Malipura and Bethak George Masi, Chiragh Park Old Dhobi Gate Bund Road, Lahore.
About 35 mobile teams of Lady Health Workers (LHWs) have been deputed to provide medical care and health education at the doorstep of affected population.
Each mobile team has covered about 200 houses for this purpose while four mobile units alongwith medical teams have been deputed to work in the affected areas.
LHWs and teams of sanitary inspectors are paying door to door visits to provide health education and ORS to the affected population.
These teams and medical camps are providing all necessary medicines like injections, ringers, lactate ORS and other necessary antibiotics required for treatment.
Khalid Sultan said that about 1,000 patients have reported in the medical camps so far and they have been provided proper medical treatment.
"DOH-I as Secretary Standing Epidemiology Teams have been directed to conduct to epidemiological study of the area so as to identify source of infection while DDOH who is convener of the mobile teams has been directed to mobilise resources with special emphasis upon collection of water and stool samples and its analysis," he said.
‘Moreover,DG Health Services Punjab has been asked to depute two paediatricians,one gastroenterologist and one epidemiologist from hospitals for proper and affective treatment of the affected people’,he added.