Deaths in Thar

Published: January 21, 2016

MITHI, THARPARKAR: Once again, deaths of innocent children are being reported in the media. Malnutrition, pneumonia and diarrhoea are thought to be the major causes of these deaths. All stakeholders, including the media, came into action but none of them could agree on the exact figures for the death toll. If anyone tries to study the situation scientifically, they can easily solve the puzzle. The first question encountered would be why the media reports these mishaps around December and January, while similar statistics are present for almost the whole year round. Secondly, why do provincial and district governments react on an ad hoc basis and never make long-term policies to improve the health status of the desert inhabitants?

Until now, no scientific surveys have been conducted by experts to declare the actual status of the diseases and causes of the deaths. All statements released by stakeholders are based on personal opinions and understanding. The government should make proper short-term and long-term plans to address the issue. Similarly, the media should use technical support to evaluate the situation and compare it with other areas where figures may be, in fact, worse than Tharparkar.

Dr Sunil Chohan

Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2016.

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