Arunachal: 11 children die of diarrhoea in Pongkong village

ITANAGAR-   Eleven children, aged between three and 10 years, have died of diarrhoea in Pongkong village under Lazu circle of Tirap district, official sources said on Sunday.

Confirming the diarrhoeal outbreak and resultant deaths at Pongkong village, Tirap District Medical Officer (DMO) in-charge Dr Obang Taggu said that the cases were reported during the last two weeks ‘randomly’ and added, “Right now, the situation is under control”, Media report said.

It must be mention here that the consumption of contaminated water and open defecation, apparently in forests, bushes and nearby water bodies in the hilly areas — as most people of the scattered village used to collect running water for their daily use — might be the reason behind the spread of the disease in the village.

But Dr Taggu, however, said the exact reason was yet to be ascertained, and added that stool from the affected persons and water sample have been sent for laboratory testing to a private facility at Khonsa and Dibrugarh in Assam for further analysis.

“In case of dehydration, diarrhoea, the people should come early to our hospital. But they are reluctant to come to hospital…Stigma, superstitious belief holds them back from moving the health facilities for treatment,” Dr Taggu said while stressing the pressing need to create awareness among the villagers.

Student union and panchayat leaders have been engaged to create awareness and convince the villagers to cooperate with the medical team and render their services as earlier medical team had a hard time convincing the villagers to come for test and symtom assessment for they believed it to be associated with evil spirit.

The situation is being constantly monitored by local MLA W. Sawin, DC Tirap T. Mize & DMO Mrs. N. Lowang. Medical Team is being arranged to station at Lazu for constant examination & treatment.

The DMO in-charge also said, “Because of their superstitious belief that some evil spirit entered their village and spread the disease in their village, the villagers are not cooperating with the medical team and our department. This is the main reason why so many people have died.

Meanwhile, a medical team is being deployed at Lazu for constant examination & treatment. Further, ambulance has already been arranged to lift the serious patients from affected Pongkong and nearby villages to the District Hospital, Khonsa.

The DC  Tirap has further instructed the medical team to stay at the village community hall to monitor the situation closely and be available 24×7 for any emergency requirements.

However, the medical officer of the NGO-run PHC at Lazu said that the situation is improving.

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