CUTTACK: With the ‘still-unexplained’ kidney disease scourging several pockets in Narsinghpur and Badamba blocks, a desperate district administration has now sought a multi-sectoral probe into it.
The administration is all set to request the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Odisha State Pollution Control Board and other expert agencies to conduct a thorough study. It will cover all aspects __ water, soil and human genetics __ to ascertain the reasons behind the abnormally high incidence of chronic renal failure (CRF) and resultant fatalities in the region.
According to reports, as many as 26 villages in Narsinghpur block, including Mahigad, Durgaprasad, Damanagadia, Kalamatia, Sagar, Nijigarh and Kakudia, along with scores of villages in neighbouring Badamba block, including Jhajia, Sankhaman, Gopalpur, Chamanagadia and Biswanathpur are under the grip of the disease which has assumed epidemic proportions.
More than 30 persons lost their lives to CRF last year alone while the toll over a period of three years is estimated to be over 100. At least 10 per cent of the population in the affected pockets is afflicted by CRF, reports said.
The cause of such high incidence is yet to be ascertained though the administration last year had initiated an exercise to evaluate the toxicity levels of the water in the region. The samples, tested by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS), did reveal water to be iron-heavy but absence of any other harmful toxic elements.
The administration has thus decided to go for an intensive multi-sectoral study of the affected pockets. A inter-departmental meeting was held by Collector Girish SN on Monday after the issue was taken up by the High Court-appointed Advocates’ Committee.
“The meeting has decided to collect samples of water, soil as well as serum and other human samples for testing by technically-advanced institutions like RMRC and laboratories outside the State,” amicus curiae PR Das said.
A population survey would be conducted by the Social and Preventive Medicine Department of SCBMCH, Cuttack, to screen the people at random for kidney diseases. Special kidney cells will be opened at the Athgarh sub-divisional hospital and the SCBMCH. Studies would also be conducted to determine the incidence of disease and the deaths over the last five years, sources in the administration said.
The major concern is that almost all the people succumbing to the disease are males in their productive years. “A substantial chunk of the deaths is also going unreported as poor people are not coming to hospitals due to high treatment costs,” Das said.