Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Staying safe in the heat

Bangladesh must ensure clean drinking water to all its citizens to minimize the impact of future heat waves

Update : 19 Apr 2024, 11:10 AM

As Bangladesh grapples with a severe heat wave, and with reports that diarrhoea patients are only likely to rise, it is crucial that we prioritize public safety during these difficult times and take the necessary precautions.

With temperatures soaring, the risk of heat-related illnesses such as heatstroke, dehydration, and heat exhaustion is also significantly heightened, while the heat can also exacerbate existing health conditions and pose a serious threat to vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions.

However, while most people can be safer by remaining indoors and regulating body temperature, what is heartbreaking is the fact that it is mostly impure, contaminated water being consumed by Bangladeshis that is leading to this spike in diarrhoea. 

Indeed, it is essential that we raise awareness about the importance of staying hydrated and staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day. However, the grave reality for many is that the process of remaining hydrated is causing further disease.

Every Bangleshi is entitled to drink clean, safe water. Yet, the reality is very different. In addition, improper hand washing, unhygienic food storage, and consumption of rotting refrigerated food, be it at home or in shops, are all exacerbating an already dire situation.

While there must be short term interventions from the authorities concerned with regard to raising public awareness such as boiling water before drinking, and the dissemination of water purifying tablets in marginalized communities, our consistent battle with diarrheal diseases tells us that we are not doing enough to provide clean, safe drinking water to Bangladeshis.

Heat waves will unfortunately continue to happen. While public awareness must continue to be a focal point, in the long run, Bangladesh must ensure clean drinking water to all its citizens to minimize the impact of future heat waves. Protecting the health and well-being of all citizens comes before all else.

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