Orissa Health Workers Pressed into Service to Check Cholera Outbreak

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 29 2007 8:04 PM

The Orissa Government has deputed over a dozen medical teams to check cholera outbreak in its tribal regions, that has reportedly killed close to hundred people.

Nearly 1,800 people were affected over the past weeks in the tribal areas of Raygada district.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the situation was under control and all possible measures have been taken to contain its outbreak to other areas.

"Matters are stabilizing now. There are 16 medical teams and in the Kashipur area, there are 14 medical teams. They are monitoring the areas and the situation is under control," Patnaik said in Bhubaneswar.

According to health officials, drinking polluted water and eating contaminated meat have caused the outbreak in impoverished Orissa.

In Kashipur block of Raygada district, where at least 48 villagers have died of Cholera, medical workers distributed medicines and ORS.

"We have distributed medicines and saline (ORS). We are taking care of everything," said Dipti Khandapani, Child Development Project Officer, Kashipur.

Meanwhile, authorities in Dasmantapur, another village that has lost 20 people to the disease, said lack of medical facilities posed a major problem.

"Normally, the reason for the deaths in the area is due to the absence of doctors - the posts are lying vacant. Even if doctors are posted, they don't stay for long. There are no doctors in Dasmantapur hospital and doctors from other areas have to come here," said Rajendra Huika, Dasmantapur Block head.

Cholera often causes severe diarrhoea or vomiting that can result in dehydration and death.

Orissa is facing monsoon floods in several districts that has marooned thousands of people and killed dozens since early August. The cholera deaths were, however, not linked to the floods, officials said.