Sunday September 24, 2023

Time to take measures to avoid water borne diseases

May 28, 2023

Islamabad : The summer season has set in and repeated rainfalls are being expected making it essential for the concerned government authorities and individuals to take steps for prevention and control of spread of waterborne infections including cholera, acute watery diarrhoea, hepatitis A and E, typhoid and amoebic dysentery along with other seasonal infections.

Rising incidences of water and food-borne diseases including diarrhoeal diseases, gastroenteritis, viral hepatitis (A&E), typhoid and paratyphoid fever along with other seasonal threats are being reported at the public and private sector healthcare facilities in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

As preparedness measure for prevention of waterborne diseases and putting up a rapid response to expected outbreaks of these infections in the existing weather conditions and extreme summer, the health departments should establish rapid response teams yet it has not been done so far. It is a proven fact that proper sanitation, provision of safe drinking water and health education for improved hygiene and observance of safe food handling practices by the community plays a vital role in mitigating outbreaks and diminishing case fatality rates.

Studies reveal that well over four million deaths every year around the globe can be attributed to water related diseases. Majority of victims of water contamination are children and it is believed that in Pakistan, around 250000 children die of waterborne diseases every year.

According to health experts, it is time for health departments to ensure provision of safe drinking water to public. The health departments in coordination with the city district administrations should add bleaching powder on weekly basis at sources to make drinking water safe for consumption.

It is time to educate public on using boiled water for drinking purposes, effectively washing vegetables and fruits before use, strictly observing hand hygiene with soap before eating meal and after going to toilet, avoiding dehydration in diarrhoea and taking ORS.

Preventive measures at individual level are also needed to avoid waterborne diseases. People should use boiled water for drinking. The water must be placed on heat to boil till the pill rolling of bubbles is seen, then cooled at room temperature for consumption. It is believed to be the best and safest water for drinking.

Experts say that drinking water needs to be chlorinated at source. All medical officers/in-charges of public sector healthcare facilities, private hospitals and clinics should closely monitor the situation so that in case of increasing number of diarrhoea cases or other waterborne diseases arriving from the same locality.