Outburst of Hepatitis-A, that has infected hundreds of people in Swat, can be attributed to poor hygiene in the area. These views were expressed by various health officials in a discussion with The Express Tribune on Monday.
According to the medical unit of the Saidu group of hospitals, a majority of the wards are full. “Every other patient at the outpatient department has been diagnosed with Hepatitis-A and more cases are still trickling in. However, all the patients are being admitted and being treated well,” said an official at the administration of the medical unit.
Meanwhile, the epidemic has also spread to the Mingora Police Station, where dozens of policemen have been affected. A source at the police station, on a condition of anonymity, said the policemen fell sick after drinking contaminated water from a nearby well. There is a polluted stream running along the police station, which has given way to bad hygiene in the area as all of the sanitation lines fall into the streams running through the Mingora Bazaar, the source added.
“The garbage and sanitation lines fall into streams. The municipality also throws all the city garbage in the streams which has not only created air pollution but also water pollution,” Zahir Khan, a doctor in Mingora, told The Express Tribune. He further said that a majority of the people drink water from the streams where the water is contaminated as these people have no alternative sources for drinking water.
“Hundreds of patients suffering with Hepatitis-A have already been admitted in various hospitals. It seems that contaminated water has mixed into the potable water lines which has caused the epidemic,” Dr Abdul Wasay said.
“To prevent against the disease, people must drink boiled water,” he suggested. According to the hospital administration, they have enough medicines and proper facilities to treat the patients. “The patients are being treated properly and we are ready to tackle the issue well in time,” Mohammad Seraj, a doctor at Saidu group of hospitals, told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.