Rourkela health administrations draws flak for ‘delayed’ diarrhoea action

Health experts opined that immediate health education through IEC activities could have prevented casualties and curbed the spread.
Representational image. Diarrhoea patients undergoing treatment | Express
Representational image. Diarrhoea patients undergoing treatment | Express

ROURKELA: Amid a surge in diarrhoea cases in Rourkela city, allegations have surfaced against  Sundargarh district and health administrations for delayed response, resulting in at least 11 deaths unofficially and a significant number of hospitalisations.

While some argue that the administration’s sluggishness in addressing the crisis allowed the situation to escalate, with the Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH) reporting four deaths on December 15 and 16, sporadic cases reported since the first week of December were allegedly not taken seriously till the alarming spike in cases.

Health experts opined that immediate health education through IEC activities could have prevented casualties and curbed the spread. Lack of timely awareness may have contributed to patients getting dehydrated, swarming hospitals with severe symptoms, and possibly experiencing renal failures associated with acute diarrhoea, they added.

Despite having UPHCs, ANMs, ASHAs, and dedicated health units, there was a delay in launching life-saving awareness campaigns on taking Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) with initial symptoms. After the intensification of IEC activities and preliminary treatment by Rapid Response Teams, a substantial drop in new cases was observed. Health Secretary Shalini Pandit, after reviewing the situation, stated that the diarrhoea outbreak is stabilising, with new cases showing mild symptoms.

However, the chief district medical and public health officer (CDM&PHO) Dr Dharani Ranjan Satpathy denied any delay in launching IEC activities. “In response to the outbreak, the administration repaired water pipeline leakages at 47 locations by December 19. An epidemiology team from the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) collected samples for microbiology tests, aiming to understand the nature of the outbreak,” he added.

RMC commissioner,  Subhankar Mohapatra, said six deaths have been reported at RGH so far, while the diarrhoea death audit committee is working on cases in other hospitals. As of now, 253 patients are under treatment out of a total of 711 hospitalised, indicating an improvement in the situation.

NHRC intervention sought

President of Nyay Pai Ladehi Parivar (NPLP) in Jagatsinghpur Subrat Dash has filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday, urging the Commission to direct the Odisha government to take necessary action in response to the ongoing diarrhoea outbreak in Rourkela. The case seeks compensation for diarrhoea-related deaths, quality treatment for affected patients, and effective measures to control the outbreak.

WATCO steps

Quality testing at 13 hotspots intensified
Disinfection by hyper chlorination in drinking water, Water Treatment Plants (WTP), service reservoirs, distribution network and consumer end to de-contaminate any presence of pathogens.
1,800 hand pumps and stand posts disinfected with chlorination

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