Villagers await Pawan Kalyan’s visit for spotlight on renal disease

Villagers await Pawan Kalyan’s visit for spotlight on renal disease
Highlights

The scourge of chronic kidney disease (CKD) seems to be pervasive in yet another village here, Srirangarajapuram, where people across all ages are suffering from varying levels of debility and enervating complications of renal diseases.

With Srirangarajapuram going the Uddanam way…

Vizianagaram: The scourge of chronic kidney disease (CKD) seems to be pervasive in yet another village here, Srirangarajapuram, where people across all ages are suffering from varying levels of debility and enervating complications of renal diseases.

Their common illness is characterised by tell-tale features like bent knees and yellow teeth. With damaged kidneys, most of them can walk only with the help of a walking stick.

The widespread kidney disease recently claimed the lives of four persons in the village viz. Padala Lakshmi, Konari Sanyasappadu and Burada Gangamma. Some of the others who are bed-ridden have one foot in the grave. They all seem to be fighting a losing battle.

According to Padala Erakaiah and Gopalakrishna of the village, situated at the tail end of Vizianagaram district, until about 10 years back, most of the people in the village were free from CKD. They used to eke out a living by tending sheep. Kidney diseases started becoming common in the village only over the past decade.

On hindsight, people in the village relate it to the defunct open well, which became dysfunctional about 10 years ago. Since then, the villagers, left with no alternative, started drinking water from four bore wells. Some of the doctors currently treating kidney patients from the village have linked the illnesses to people drinking water from these borewells.

According to P Sanganna and D Sattemma, both kidney patients, the matter was taken to the notice of the State government. Subsequently, some doctors did visit the village. They collected samples from the bore wells. Recently, medical officers displayed boards near the bore wells, asking people not to drink water drawn from them.

Officials, however, did not care to provide an alternative and took no step to ensure supply of potable drinking water to the village. Although every other village has NTR Sujala Sravanti, there is nothing of that sort in Srirangarajapuram. Successive governments have not bothered to pay attention to the needs of the village.

According to Gouri Naidu, a resident, even if relatives of the local people have some compulsion to visit Srirangarajapuram, they make it a point to bring with them drinking water to meet their needs. They would not even touch tea or coffee offered by the villagers. The guests just finish their work as soon as possible and leave the place.

Even otherwise, Gouri Naidu says, the villagers, on their part, advise relatives and other visitors not to drink water drawn from the bore wells in the village. The refrain of the villagers is: it is high time the State government took remedial measures.

Enthused by the attention that some of the long-neglected villages have drawn of late mainly due to the involvement of celebrities, the residents of Srirangarajapuram have been awaiting the visit of film actor ‘Power Star’ Pawan Kalyan.

They want their idol to pay attention to the scourge besetting their village a la the problem of Uddanam village in Srikakulam district. The villagers are seeking financial assistance to the tune of Rs 2,500, which is being paid to kidney patients in villages that are under the radar of the government.

If the patients want to go to a hospital, they have to go to Balijapeta, which is far off. If they visit the nearby PHC at Galavali, the medical officer washes his hands off after administering painkillers. This is their dilemma, along with frightening consequences.

When contacted, Vizianagaram District Medical and Health Officer Dr Padmaja said that water samples had been sent for laboratory analysis as the medical officers had blamed it on ground water in the village.

If government officials do not shed their lethargic attitude towards the core issue, the situation could slip out of the hand, with Srirangarajapuram going the Uddanam way.

By P Nagaraju

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