RAHIM YAR KHAN: At least three more people died of jaundice after a deadly epidemic hit Rahim Yar Khan District earlier this month. The total number of casualties rose to 50, data collected by Express News revealed.
Doctors at Sheikh Zayed Hospital told Express News that three patients suffering from jaundice were admitted to the health facility. However, their condition continued to deteriorate and they later died at hospital.
The victims were identified as 55-year-old Gul Khatoon, a resident of Kot Samabah, Sahib Khatoon, 65, a resident of Basti Jam Khan and 55-year-old Khalid Mehmood, a resident of Khanpur.
Meanwhile, seven patients suffering from jaundice were also admitted to the Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Those infected were 40-year-old Shehzadi Bibi, 40-year-old Haseena Bibi, Six-year-old Gul Khatoon, 57-year-old Ali Anwar, Asad Ali, 50, Hafeezullah, 55, and 60-year-old Elahi Bakhsh.
The doctors said that all the patients were in critical condition. They were being provided treatment and efforts were being made to save their lives, they maintained. Similarly, jaundice cases were also reported from different hospitals of the district, including Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Sadiqabad, Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Khanpur and Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Liaquatpur.
Currently, the entire district of Rahim Yar Khan has been plagued with jaundice. In a district of more than 0.45 million people, hundreds succumb to the disease each year, while deaths are reported from every corner of RYK.
Earlier, when officials from the local health department conducted jaundice tests on 100 people, it turned out that 95 of them had the disease. And now, there is a rise in the deaths related to jaundice in the entire district.
The only big hospital in the entire district is the Shiekh Zayed Hospital, where three to five patients, affected by the disease, are reported on a daily basis.
Data collected from Shiekh Zayed Hospital stated that at least 50 people have lost their lives in the district during May, while fears of more casualties cannot be ruled out.
Health experts said that the arsenic underground water, reuse of syringes, pollution and lack of filtration plants play a leading role in spreading this deadly disease. They added that raising awareness and concerted measures regarding for prevention could help overcome the outbreak.
The experts added that the core reason behind the rise of this contagion is the increase in the levels of arsenic in underground water.
They added that a second reason was the lack of a filtration plant in 90% of the district, forcing the local population to consume arsenic water.
When Express News collected and reviewed test reports of the district’s three rural health centres, two district headquarters hospitals and Shiekh Zayed Hospital, it transpired that 63% of the population had the disease.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2018.