| Residents of Madhepura’s Chausa block at a free medical check-up camp organised by the NDRF team on Tuesday. Picture by Mukesh Kumar Jha |
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel deputed in the Kosi region have gone beyond their prescribed duties, reaching out to thousands to offer medical help and create awareness about reacting to natural calamities.
There were eight NDRF teams deployed since August 2. Two teams each were deputed at Madhepura, Saharsa, Supaul and Khagaria. They have been creating awareness on how to tackle calamities.
The NDRF personnel would continue their camps in which patients are not only checked for free but are also provided medicines. The camps are conducted on school premises and students are told about possible threats such as snakebites, floods and earthquakes and how to react to such cases in time. Patients are also treated on the spot.
The deputy commandant of the NDRF’s 9th battalion, Rakesh Ranjan, said: “In the past two days, we have treated around 810 patients, including 371 from Alamnagar block and 439 from Chausa block in Madhepura, about 250km northeast of Patna. After check-up, we have distributed free medicines. We have organised community awareness programme so that residents can deal with natural calamities.”
Ranjan added: “Our 13-member team, led by chief medical officer Dr Sanjay Krishna, on Tuesday organised a free medical camp at Falaut village under Chausa block. Another camp was held at Moraut village of Alamnagar block in Madhepura. We will continue such work as long as we are here. The other teams in Saharsa, Supaul and Khagaria are doing the same.”
Dr Krishna said: “Most of the people residing in the riverine areas of Kosi are poor. We diagnosed diseases such as joint pain, abdominal pain, blackening of teeth and others. The main reasons for these diseases are malnutrition and iron content in water. There is a huge rush of patients at our camps, particularly women and children. We first advise them before starting treatment. Medicine is not the solution, as they would continue to live here in adverse conditions. A piece of advice is more significant than medicines.”
He said: “In riverine areas, the level of pollution is high. It is compounded by the presence of iron in water. Apart from that, water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and jaundice are very common. The residents find it hard in absence of medical facilities.”
Chausa resident Rambha Devi said: “We have been living in this flood-prone area for years. It is our fate. During floods, snakebite is common. We also suffer from jaundice, diarrhoea and joint pain throughout the year. This is for the first time that we had free check-ups and were made aware on how to tackle natural calamities, including flood and earthquake.”