Reports of two diarrhoea deaths in the past 48 hours and at least a dozen patients prompted state tribal welfare minister Champai Soren to visit Shidhnarayanpur village
in Gamharia in Seraikela-Kharsawan on Tuesday.
Soren not only took stock of the situation, but also gave an earful to district civil surgeon S.K. Jha for not taking precautionary measure to prevent occurrence of the waterborne disease.
The deceased — Shankar Munda (55) and five-year-old Bharti Purty — hailed from Sarna Tola in Shidhnarayanpur of Gamharia.
While Munda, who showed diarrhoea symptoms, succumbed while being taken to MGM Medical College and Hospital in the night of September 29, Bharti died without treatment at her home on Monday morning.
“It is being suspected that the two died of diarrhoea though there is no confirmation on this as they could not be taken to hospitals. However, there are about a dozen more patients from the village affected with this disease,” Jha told The Telegraph.
Villagers blamed lack of proper treatment facilities in the area for the twin deaths. According to them, there is a primary health centre (PHC) at the village, but the doctors were absent most of the time. At night, there is no one on duty.
“Munda and Bharti could not avail of medical consultation when they needed it. Had the doctors been present, they could have been saved,” said Shaktidhar Mahto, a local resident.
Another, Narayan Majhi, agreed, saying that the PHC was located in front of his house, but he hardly went there as there is no one around to check patients.
At present, around 11 Sarna Tola villagers are reportedly suffering from diarrhoea. When seven are undergoing treatment at private nursing homes in Adityapur and Gamharia, the remaining four were lying untreated at their homes till Soren visited them and arranged for their transfer to MGM Medical College and Hospital in Jamshedpur. A medical camp was also held at the village on Tuesday, where the four were diagnosed with diarrhoea.
Soren also pulled up the civil surgeon, asking him to camp at Shidhnarayanpur till the situation improved and ensure round-the-clock presence of doctors at PHC.
“With the state still witnessing rain, the civil surgeon should have conducted a survey and find out the villages that lack basic facilities like drinking water and sanitation. Subsequently, precautionary measures should have been taken to prevent waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and jaundice,” Soren told The Telegraph.