Kerala

Health dept. to focus on keeping waterborne diseases at bay

Water being used by wayside eateries within the Kozhikode Corporation limits is often found to be unhygienic. S. Ramesh Kurup

Water being used by wayside eateries within the Kozhikode Corporation limits is often found to be unhygienic. S. Ramesh Kurup  

Kerala health department is planning to focus more on waterborne diseases as part of Arogya Jagratha, the State Government’s ongoing ambitious scheme to check infectious diseases.

Everything went so well at that wedding event in Kozhikode district some time ago until many guests complained of uneasiness and had stomach upset. Health Department officials who reached the area in subsequent days could not first detect the cause as the host was very firm that there was no compromise on the quality of food or water.

“Only later we realised that unbeknown to the host, some of his relatives and local residents had collected water from an unhygienic water source and it was used for cooking,” said a senior official, pointing out that the instances of viral hepatitis is turning out to be a major public health challenge they face these days. The beverages being served as “welcome drink” at many events is also turning out to be a concern, she claimed.

This year, the department is planning to focus more on this issue as part of Arogya Jagratha, the State Government’s ongoing ambitious scheme to check infectious diseases.

Sources said that many people were found to opt for cheap commercial ice blocks to prepare welcome drink as clean and pure ice would cost more. The water source for the preparation of that ice might not be hygienic, and it could lead to serious health issues, they claimed. Though the Kozhikode district administration in 2019 had mandated licence for those serving food and drinks during religious festivals and feasts, it was not being followed at many places. The lack of public involvement in ensuring hygiene is often leading to problems too, say Health officials.

In the city Corporation area, wayside eateries serving cut fruits and marinated delicacies also pose a health hazard. According to sources, though the health wing of the Corporation had issued licence to over 100 such vendors after examining their hygiene standards, there are a total of 200 vendors operating within the city. Asha Devi, Additional District Medical Officer, told The Hindu that hand-washing and use of only boiled water for cooking would keep waterborne diseases at bay. “The State is expected to face water shortage in the summer months. The vessels to keep drinking water should be properly closed with lid,” she added.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 3:35:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/health-dept-to-focus-on-keeping-waterborne-diseases-at-bay/article30467488.ece

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