'Preventing diarrhoea is very difficult if people do not have access to safe water'
The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) saw usually high number of diarrhoea patients on Friday, with the heat wave continuing its course. Dr Azharul Islam Khan, the chief of hospitals at icddr,b, said unless clean water supply is ensured by the Dhaka Water Supply & Sewage Authority (Wasa), the diarrhoea outbreak could not be contained.
Dr Azharul, who is also the chief physician, told Dhaka Tribune that preventing diarrhoea is very difficult if people do not have access to safe water.
He blamed WASA for not being able to provide fresh and drinkable water.
“I do not know if the Wasa provides clean water from their end, but the water clearly gets contaminated, or polluted, by the time consumers receive it,” Dr Azhar said, noting that people must filter, boil, or use other water purification methods before drinking the water.
He said there were about 800-900 patients every day this April, and 650-750 in May.
“I could roughly estimate that 65% of them are adults and the other 35% of them children. Most of the adult patients are men.”
A chart displaying the number of patients served at the icddr,b showed the tally at 405 on Saturday, till 1pm, and 666 throughout Friday.
Jahangeer Alam brought his 8-month-old daughter from Shonir Akhra to the icddr,b because she was suffering from diarrhoea for 15 days straight.
He took her to a local hospital first, but after her condition deteriorated, he opted for the icddr,b.
Blaming the contaminated water in his area, Jahangeer said: “Many children in our area are contracting diarrhoea. I do not drink the water available at our house, I bring comparatively clean water from someplace close by, but my daughter still got sick.”
Another patient from the capital’s Postogola area, Abdur Rahman, said he avoids street food, but still contracted diarrhoea three days ago.
The icddr,b chief recommended that maintaining a good hygiene is imperative to avoiding contracting of diarrhea. He also suggested that mothers continue breastfeeding if their babies have diarrhea. In addition, he cautioned against eating street food for iftar, as it is all too susceptible to the heat, and could spoil easily.