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ODF status for district only on papers as hundreds fall sick due to faecal-oral transmission
Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin fails in Kupwara
8/20/2018 11:49:49 PM
Jehangir Rashid
Early Times Report
srinagar, Aug 20: The tall claims of the people at helm that North Kashmir's Kupwara district has achieved Open Defecation Free (ODF) status have fallen flat following the recent outbreak of diarrhea and related diseases at a large scale in many areas of the district.
Sources told Early Times that the sample tests carried out by Department of Health show faecal, sewerage contamination in drinking water supplied to the people in the areas badly hit by diarrhea. The ODF status given under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) is based on the parameter that there is termination of faecal-oral transmission.
The sources said that the tests pointed out that ODF status is a myth when it comes to Kupwara district. They said that the recent outbreak of water related diseases is a tip of ice-berg and many incidents can come to the fore if proper analysis is done.
"Hundreds of people fell sick in the many areas of this border district. More than 900 persons were treated in local health centers after contaminated water sources were found linked to cases of diarrhea, vomiting, typhoid and other water borne diseases in the area- thus, putting a huge question mark on ODF status achieved by Kupwara district," said sources.
As defined by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, the Nodal Ministry for the overall policy, planning, funding and coordination of two flagship programmes of the Government of India, namely, the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) for rural drinking water supply and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (SBM-G) for sanitation in the country; ODF means no visible faeces should be found in the environment/village and every household as well as public/community institution (s) using safe technology option for disposal of faeces.
The locals have raised questions over the implementation of SBM-G and rejected the hollow slogan like "Swachh Bharat, Swachh Village" after the Department of Health has submitted report on the quality of water to the government, a week after hundreds of people fell ill by acute diarrheal diseases and gastroenteritis in Jagerpora and Kaweri villages of district Kupwara
"It has already come to the fore that water samples, tested at public health laboratory Handwara have been found to have a very high Most Probable Number (MPN), a measurement of degree of contamination by coli form bacteria. The bacteria are responsible for causing diarrhea and gastroenteritis in humans and its presence in drinking water indicates faecal or sewerage contamination," said sources.
Official data shows that 98,782 toilets were constructed in 24 blocks of Kupwara district since the launch of SBM-G in October, 2014. The government report also shows that not a single household was left without a toilet.
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