Around 10 children succumbs to diarrhoea in Arunachal Pradesh
By Apekshita Sonowal
About 10 children aged between 3-10 years dies of diarrhoea in Pongkong and Longliang village under Lazu Circle in Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh as of July 30, 2022, Saturday. Among the 10 cases, eight were from Pongkong and two from Longliang, as per DC, Taro Mize. The exact death cases is still not ascertained.
The news of the diarrhoea outbreak was confirmed by the district medical officer (DMO) in charge, for the Tirap district, Arunachal Pradesh, Dr Obang Taggu. He said that the cases were reported to him in the last two weeks, ‘randomly’
Although the DMO said the situation is currently under control but according to the villagers there are still children who are suffering from the same and many of them belongs to the previous deceased families.
“The consumption of contaminated water and open defecation, apparently in woodlands and nearby water bodies along the hilly terrains might be the reason behind the disease transmission in the village,” – the DMO of the Tirap district stated. However, Dr Taggu said the exact cause is yet to be analysed.
Apart from these, different parties came together for symptom assessment and basic medicine distribution such as the Sanjeevani Foundation, regional PHC and District Medical Team and six Assam rifle medical team under the supervision of district administration.
The stool and water sample has been collected for further investigation from the affected children and was sent to a nearby private laboratory testing centre at Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh and also to Dibrugarh, Assam.
Meanwhile the villagers said the water has been taken for the purpose of testing weeks ago and that the results of the test has still not arrived.
The DMO in-charge also said that the villagers were of the opinion that this is not a medical issue but something superstitious and the doctor believes that this was one of the main reasons of the children’s untimely death, he says these with an urgent need of creating awareness among the villagers.
“Because of their superstitious belief that some evil spirit entered their village and spread the disease in their village, the villagers are not cooperating with the medical team and our department. This is the main reason why so many people have died.” He said.
The villagers did not allow entry to the village for around 48 hours thinking it to be a superstitious, the DC informed which was shared to him DMO and many other officials.
“In case of dehydration, diarrhoea, people should come early to our hospital. But they are reluctant to come to hospital…Stigma, superstitious belief holds them back from moving the health facilities for treatment,” Dr Taggu said.
Student union and Panchayat leaders are working on it and are trying their best to create a sense of awareness among the villagers. They have also asked to cooperate with the medical team for further medical examinations by taking various tests and symptom assessment which, they have denied thinking it to be a result of an evil spirit.
Meanwhile a medical team has been given in charge at Lazu for constant examination and treatment. Also, the situation is being tracked by the legislator – W. Sawin, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Tirap – T. Mize & DMO – Mrs. N. Lowang.
Moreover, in case of an emergency, there has been ambulances kept on standby to shift the seriously affected patients from affected Pongkong and nearby villages to the district hospital at Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh.
Furthermore, the medical team has been asked to be present at the village community hall and monitor the situation closely and also at the same time, be available for 24×7.
Even though the DMO, DC and other officials have taken the necessary steps to help prevent the disease, the villagers were of the opinion that they are not doing their best and hence the cause of the several deaths in the area. Also, they have requested for medical camps for at least one month to monitor the situation. To which, the DC said, 'we have already asked to set up medical camps and we will also make sure to set up the camps with a day or so.'
Furthermore, the DC, T. Mize have said that he will also look into the matter of JJM facility of that area.
"As a deputy commissioner, I am the chairman of the JJM in the district, so I will definitely look into that matter with executive engineer who is the member secretary." -he stated on asking him about the water source facility problems and why is the JJM still not operational in the place. He also said that, "firstly we need to wait for the water testing results and depending on that we will take further actions."
(Source- Arunachal Today)