Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 24 July 2024 11.15 PM IST

Epidemics tightening its grip; Kerala paying its price for lack of sanitation culture


Despite the commendable progress in the health sector, Kerala is prone to epidemics during the rainy season. This has been the case for the past several years. All infectious diseases in the world come in groups and vanquish humans. Now, Kerala is facing the epidemic of cholera. A man who was staying in a hostel run by a charitable organization in Neyyattinkara died of cholera. After one more person has been diagnosed with the disease, the health department has issued a warning and strengthened preventive measures. Thousands are being treated for diseases including Leptospirosis, dengue, influenza and encephalitis. Hospitals are overflowing with fever patients.

Thirteen lakh people sought treatment in government hospitals for common fever alone. Deaths are also getting reported. The government estimates that 65 people have already died of leptospirosis. The number of people suffering from diseases like chicken pox and jaundice is also high. Complaints in this regard from various centres are that the government systems are not sufficiently prepared to effectively deal with the increasing epidemics. People with financial support usually go to private hospitals. However, government hospitals are the only refuge for the poor and those belonging to the lower-income group. There are not enough treatment facilities there.

With crores of rupees due to drug companies, there is a shortage of drugs in many hospitals. Despite claims that the health sector is well-equipped to deal with anything, there are universal complaints that the patients' experience is otherwise. The main reason behind the outbreak of epidemics is the continued laxity in sanitation. Every land is competing in polluting water sources. The rivers, drains and canals here have become places to take and dump slaughter waste, excrement and all the things that are not needed in the houses. It was customary to clean these at least partially before the rainy season. It didn't happen this year. People are paying the price for that in the form of various epidemics.

It is as if our local bodies have completely forgotten its the primary duty of sanitation. The water sources are polluted and this has led to an unusual spread of Jaundice. Even though mosquitoes are multiplying all over the state, mosquito control activities are not effective. It seems that the local department does not have any projects for that. Even the systems that existed for this in the past have been stopped. Mosquito eradication is now the responsibility of the people. There will usually be relief from infectious diseases as the rainy season changes and the weather becomes pleasant. People have almost adapted to it as it has become regular every year. Communicable diseases can be prevented only when the house and its surroundings can be kept clean. The culture for that should be cultivated in the people.

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