DH Impact: Govt wakes up, acts to tackle fluorosis

Geethanjali, who is afflicted by Skeletal Fluorosis, has now been assured of free treatment by the health department for the next three months. The 35-year-old, who has been immobilised waist down, had stopped availing treatment, as she couldn’t afford it. (DH Photo/Ashwini Y S)

She may not be relieved of the pain entirely. But Geethanjali K R of Kariyammanapalya village in Pavagada taluk, Tumakuru district, now has access to quality healthcare and drinking water.

A day after DH’s report ‘Fluorosis takes its toll on drought-hit Pavagada’, Taluk Health Officer (THO) Dr Venkatesha Murthy visited Geethanjali and evaluated her health condition.

Geethanjali, who is afflicted by Skeletal Fluorosis, has now been assured of free treatment by the health department for the next three months. The 35-year-old, who has been immobilised waist down, had stopped availing treatment, as she couldn’t afford it.

“We collected her urine sample yesterday. She was also taken to Madhugiri today for an X-Ray. There are definitely fluoride deposits in her body. It’s quite apparent that she has been drinking raw water for several years. Upon advice from doctors in Madhugiri, we have provided her with calcium and Vitamin D tablets, in addition to protein powders and Vitamin syrups. We will do further evaluation and ensure that she avails periodical treatment. We are also making arrangements for a walker from the fluorosis wing,” he said.

The district administration has also decided to deploy an orthopaedic surgeon to Pavagada on a permanent basis.

Murthy was also accompanied by officials from the rural water supply wing, who have inspected the RO plant in the village. The water samples have been sent for analysis.

Also, the district authorities have decided to supply free water from the RO/defluoridation plants. Presently, residents have to pay Rs 2 for a pot of treated water.

“The DH report was an eye-opener. The matter was also discussed at length during the Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) meeting. After it was highlighted that several residents could not afford water from RO plants, the deputy secretary of the zilla panchayat agreed to supply water free of cost. I have also requested the rural water supply officials to evaluate all RO plants, and also ensure that defunct plants are repaired at the earliest,” said Dr Murthy.

In addition to this, the health department has decided to intensify its IEC (information, education, communication) activities in the taluk to create awareness on drinking purified water.

The health officer said circulars will be sent to all schools directing them to mandatorily supply only treated water to students. Most children in Pavagada are affected by Dental Fluorosis (DF) after consuming borewell water.

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DH Impact: Govt wakes up, acts to tackle fluorosis

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