Sunday, August 2, 2009

Diarrhea and death in Nepal

After a field visit to Jajarkot, a diarrhea affected rural village in Nepal where more than 200 people have died in three months, doctors from Nepal Medical Association write:

Dali. A women fell ill due to diarrhoea in a village six hours' walk from the Dali health post. Her daughter, who was working in the field, came back home due to diarrhoea and found that the mother was sick. None of the villagers helped to take her and her mother to the health facility. The mother died. The villagers locked the daughter in a dark room with husk and covered her with a blanket and took the mother to the river to perform the last rites, a two-hour walk from the village. Across the river lies Rari, Rukum where a health camp has been set up to tackle the epidemic. After the mother had been cremated, policemen saw the villagers putting out the fire. They asked them why they were putting out the fire. The villagers answered that they were saving wood as another person was ready to be cremated in the village. Luckily, the police rushed to the village and found the daughter in the dark room barely breathing and rescued her. While running to the health camp, the policemen said that the girl's blanket was drenched in stool which was falling in drops. The girl received treatment and survived.

Dhime. The team in Dhime heard that Gyanendra Sharma, a leper who had been previously kept at the District Hospital at Khalanga for one year to treat his rotting foot four years ago, was suffering from diarrhoea. On reaching the house to rescue the old man, volunteers saw no one in the house. They found the old man in a dark room, naked and covered in faeces. They asked the family to clean him up so that they could rescue him; the family refused and he died.

Seriously, where is all the aid money on health services going? Also, where are all those NGOs and INGOs at this time of crisis? Importantly, what the hell was the government doing in all these years? It is pity that in this century, people die of diarrhea at the rate of 100 per month. Its not because they don’t have clean water but because they are not educated well enough to use clean water, practice proper sanitation measures, and dispel some untrue, self-perpetuating health-related fears.