Upper Dir Executive District Officer (EDO) Health Dr Iftikhar Ahmad told The Express Tribune the outbreak started around three days ago. He said a child died due to cholera, after which the outbreak spread in Attan Darra and Dherai. A medical team was dispatched to the areas to investigate the situation, said Ahmad. The number of patients started increasing on Monday and Tuesday when more than 100 children were shifted to Warhai in Upper Dir and Timergara hospital in Lower Dir, while around 10 children had to be taken to Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital in Swat. So far, about 160 cases of cholera and diarrhoea among children have been reported. “We will soon overcome the situation, as teams have been dispatched to the area” Ahmad said, explaining the disease has turned into an epidemic, causing many people to fall ill. Ahmad said he visited the areas himself to analyse and observe the situation. Two teams have been dispatched so far and two more teams will be sent with vaccination and initial treatment kits to the areas. Read: Dengue outbreak: Threat of epidemic looms large as summer approaches Neglected in Dir However, Salman Hussain, who shifted his aged mother and his younger brother to Swat, tells a different tale. He said they went to Warhai, the headquarters of Upper Dir, to get medicine but the EDO, along with other officials, was absent. He claimed no one wants to come to the area due to Ramazan. This forced people to take their affected children to Timergara, headquarters of Lower Dir. An emergency was declared in the hospital, and those who couldn’t be admitted in the hospital were referred to Peshawar and Swat hospitals due to their critical condition. Nabiullah, who shifted his two sons to Saidu Teaching Hospital, told The Express Tribune that despite calling the local health officials, no one came to help them. “I took my children to Warhai health centre, but to no avail,” he said. He added he then took his children to a local private clinic where he was told to take his sons “to a bigger hospital or else they will die”. Read: Polio: The case of an explosive outbreak Prevention over cure People were advised through an announcement at a mosque to use boiled water for drinking and maintain hygiene. The EDO said even though he and his team provided trainings and workshops on how to stay healthy and hygienic, diseases continue to spread. “It’s all because of a lack of awareness and poor hygienic conditions,” he said. Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2015.
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