Befuddled by fate, Banjaras battle odd maladies

Befuddled by fate, Banjaras battle odd maladies
Highlights

It seems that people of Kishan Naik thanda are an accursed lot. Almost a hundred people living in the hamlet under Venkatapur gram panchayat, which is just a few kilometre away from Narayankhed town, have been suffering from the fatal malady chikungunya and some strange diseases for the past one month or so. 

Narayankhed: It seems that people of Kishan Naik thanda are an accursed lot. Almost a hundred people living in the hamlet under Venkatapur gram panchayat, which is just a few kilometre away from Narayankhed town, have been suffering from the fatal malady chikungunya and some strange diseases for the past one month or so.

Although a medical camp was conducted in the hamlet initially, the spread of the disease continues unabated with no relief in sight for the people who are not even able to go to work these days. Many people in the hamlet, even those under the age of 40 years, complain about knee and joint pains. The reasons for some of the strange illnesses are still unknown.

Laxmi Bai (40) has been suffering from knee pains for a couple of years and now she can hardly walk. In addition, she was diagnosed with chikungunya recently. She was admitted to the government hospital in Narayankhed for almost four days. Laxmi Bai, another woman by the same name from Manya Naik thanda, another hamlet under the same gram panchayat, underwent hysterectomy at a private hospital in Shankarampet A mandal. After the operation, she has been suffering from severe pains in her knees, joints, neck and nerves.

“When we go to the government hospital, the doctors and nurses ask: Why is it that always people in Venkatapur are becoming sick? They don’t even care to treat us properly,” said Bansilal, a resident of Kishan Naik thanda, whose son was also diagnosed with chikungunya. There are several leaking water pipelines in the village.

The matter was brought to the notice of Tahir, who deputises his daughter Ruheena Begum, the actual sarpanch of Venkatapur village. He immediately visited the hamlet along with this reporter and assured that repair works would be completed immediately. He also said water testing in the village was done and all test results concluded that fluoride levels in all the bore-wells were within 1.5 parts per million (ppm) - the acceptable limit.

There are hardly any individual household latrines in the village and work on soak pits is yet to start, despite the sarpanch procuring material for digging. Part of the problem lies with the people who don’t want to dig their own soak pits without immediate payment. “We have 90 households ready to construct individual household latrines in Venkatapur, but funds from NREGS and SBM are not reaching us,” said Tahir.

However, people living in the two hamlets keep their houses pretty clean and therefore poor sanitation could be ruled out for chikungunya outbreak. The Medical and Health Department’s efforts to contain the outbreak have only been reactive till now and more need to be done to prevent it from spreading to Manya Naik thanda or any other neighbouring villages. People are also requesting the officials to conduct health camps in the two hamlets to find out the cause for the strange knee and joints’ pain problem affecting even the youth in the hamlets.

By Vivek Bhoomi

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