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Private hospitals cash in on outbreak of diseases: Ban on unhygienic victuals sought

Published May 31, 2006 12:00am

KASUR, May 30: Gastro-enteritis, chicken pox and measles are taking their toll on the children a number of who are being admitted to hospitals daily. Two children have died of gastroenteritis just the other day.

A survey conducted by Dawn revealed that more than 2,500 patients have been admitted to various government and private hospitals during the last one week. A majority of them have complaints about stomach ailments like gastroenteritis, which has so far claimed lives of 10 children.

Dr Qamar Arshad, a child specialist at the District Headquarters Hospital, said intake of unhygienic edibles, beverages and pollution were the major causes of outbreak of several diseases.

He said the incidence of German measles was on the rise and so far no vaccination had been discovered to fight it.

Dr Saleemul Rehman said contaminated water was the actual cause of disease outbreak. He advised the people to avoid direct exposure to the sun and use filtered or boiled water to minimise the risk.

Meanwhile, it is observed that the situation created by water-borne and air-borne diseases has become a source of income for the private hospitals whose ‘agents’ roam about in emergency and children wards to convince and facilitate the patients to move from a government hospital to some private centre.

When a nurse was asked to comment on the situation, she confirmed that the people were shifted to private hospitals because “there is no facility other than oxygen here.” A majority of doctors is doing private practice these days.

When contacted, deputy medical superintendent Dr Rizwan said there was no shortage of beds and doctors and paramedical staff. He expressed his ignorance about the presence of private clinic agents on the hospital premises.

EDO (Health) Dr Jamil said he had written letters to all MS and TMOs to deal with the situation of on an emergency basis, as the number of patients was increasing with every passing day. He said he had requested the district coordination officer to impose section 144 in the city to check sale of spurious beverages and unhygienic victuals.

The district bar association and Anjuman Shahryan-i-Kasur have organised a press conference to urge the health and municipal authorities to take action against vendors selling fruit slices and other unhygienic eatables and insanitary conditions. They threatened to launch protest in case their plea went unheard.