Call for multi-pronged strategy on fluorosis
Progress debate on HMTV Hyderabad: On completion of two years of its intense campaign against fluorosis in...
Progress debate on HMTV
Hyderabad: On completion of two years of its intense campaign against fluorosis in Nalgonda, HMTV conducted a live discussion on Monday on the achievements and failures of the two-year-long struggle against the scourge crippling scores of lives in the district.
Participants in the discussion underlined the need for a multi-pronged strategy to permanently eradicate the fluoride problem. Though necessary steps have been taken to fight the fluoride menace, still a lot needed to be done to completely eradicate the menace forever, they observed. The discussion was conducted by HMTV Chief Coordinator Virahat Ali.
District Collector N Mukteswara Rao said that there was a need for a widespread awareness among people not to consume the fluoride-affected water. He said a nutritious diet rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin C should be given to the afflicted people to recover from the harmful effects. He said the provision of Krishna river water to each and every one in the district would greatly arrest the spread of the menace.
The Collector pointed out that though Krishna water is supplied up to 11 am, people are still drinking water from borewells. He said a campaign is being conducted to make the people aware of the harm done by borewells. It has been estimated that various works would require an expenditure of around Rs 190 crore to get the people rid of the problem. "Percolation tanks are very much needed to recharge groundwater," he mentioned.
On the lacunae in the mechanism for water provision, he said that though the Krishna water is supplied to the villages, there is no mechanism to supply water to schools for the children, he said. Children are being given eggs and milk to fortify them from contracting the ailment.
District Medical and Health Officer Dr Amos said that out of 59 mandals in the district, 27 health camps have been conducted in 48 mandals with the help of orthopedic surgeons, dental surgeons and other specialists. The doctors have identified 40 skeletally defective patients. Around 10,000 people have been found to have dental problems. The district administration under the guidance of the District Collector has been striving to address the problem. "We are keen to implement the Raja Reddy Report and are making constant efforts to get more information to eradicate the menace," he added.
Dr Amos observed not only water but food is also harming people. He appealed to the people to take Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium in plenty. He also underlined the importance of conducting public awareness on the fluoride problem. Kompalli Narasimhulu, Fluoride Control Coordinating Officer, said that on every Monday, officials of 17 departments review the programmes and improve the efforts. "We are concentrating on how to identify the problem first and later how to solve it effectively on a permanent basis," he added.
The medical officers of primary health centres in 17 mandals are also meeting regularly and examining the patients. The victims are being brought to the district headquarters for further treatment, he said.A Narasimhulu regretted that the people do not know what type of water they should not drink and what type they should consume. "There are certain borewells where the fluoride level is less than 1.5 ppm which is safe for drinking," he said. The government officials are trying to drive this message into the public.
Dusarla Satyanarayana, president of Jala Sadhana Samiti, the NGO which has been extensively working to solve the fluoride problem, expressed dissatisfaction over the implementation of various government programmes to tackle the issue. He said that there are no orthopedic surgeons or dentists to treat the victims.
Safe drinking water is a just demand of the people and the government should provide it on a war-footing in view of the seriousness of the situation. Fresh water is flowing on both sides of the district, but there is no scheme to tap it for the district people, he rued. He underlined the importance of desilting water tanks to recharge groundwater in the district. On the half-hearted approach by some officials, he pointed out that a new water reservoir was washed away soon after water released into it. He, however, complimented the District Collector for calling upon the people not to use aluminum vessels. He demanded the Krishna and the Godavari waters for the whole district as most of the water from these two rivers is going waste into the sea.
Though Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar had announced that they would meet the members of Jala Sadhana Samithi, we were never invited by him, he regretted. He also said that there were no adequate number of doctors and dentists. Add to it is lack of medicines, he added.
Though Krishna water is supplied to the villages, there is no mechanism to supply water to the schools for the children. Children are being given eggs and a glass of milk to overcome the fluoride problem.