Facilities in rural hospitals poor: doctors
The death toll from leptospirosis, commonly known as rat fever, has risen to seven this month with one more death reported early on Wednesday at Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) here.
Health Department authorities also confirmed that a 76-year-old woman from Payimbra in Kakkur grama panchayat had cholera. Investigation to identify the source of the disease and the gravity of the threat was in progress.
Activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) took out a march to the MCH raising slogans against the Health Department.
Health Minister Adoor Prakash will visit the city on Thursday to review the situation and chalk out disease-prevention and damage-control strategies. Mr. Prakash will be present at the district-level review meeting to be held at Collectorate conference hall at 3 p.m.
Leptospirosis usually raises its head in the rainy season. Its victims mostly are ordinary people who walk through roads flooded with waters from blocked drains that could contain the urine of infected rodents that is the main source of infection. Some of those who succumbed to the disease were from villages where fields and roads are flooded during the monsoon. The surplus rainfall this season and the resultant flooding of roads have increased the chances of infection.
The Health authorities have come under pressure to step up treatment facilities. Doctors at the MCH said the system put in place in peripheral hospitals for diagnosis and treatment of rat fever seemed inadequate. Most of those brought to the hospital with rat fever were in a critical condition, indicating that precious time had been lost either in diagnosing the disease or in starting treatment. The condition may aggravate in patients who have diabetes or similar health conditions.
District Surveillance Officer M.K. Appunni, however, said that health clinics in private and government sectors above the grade of community health centres that offered modern medicine had adequate disease detection and treatment facilities.
The authorities were trying to find out if the facilities set up to offer non-allopathic medical systems of diagnosis and treatment were equally effective.
The need to arrange for quick transportation of leptospirosis patients from remote places to the MCH and other hospitals that are better equipped to handle medical emergencies is also felt.