Two sisters allegedly died of diarrhoea in tribal dominated Kapa village of Mandla district stoking fears among villagers about the disease even as authorities claimed that diarrhoea was not behind the deaths.
The two girls, Draupadi Baiga (8) and Devati (4) are from the village adopted by state health minister Faggan Singh Kulaste, and are among more than 40 people who have reportedly died due to diarrhoea in the district in the last two months.
The girls’ deaths have terrified Kapa villagers, but officials refused to admit the spread of diarrhoea and said the deaths were due to anaemia.
Sub-divisional magistrate Prem Singh Chouhan said, “The sisters died of anaemia and other deaths of people are natural.”
Local people accused the administration and government of carelessness over the deaths as the disease was apprehended in the area following flood.
Accusing authorities of shirking responsibilities Congress MLA Sanjiv Uikey said, “Diarrhoea has claimed more than 40 lives in the district. Out of them, eight are from Kapa village, which was adopted one and a half year ago by health minister Faggan Singh Kulaste.”
“There is no health facility for people. They have to cover a distance of 20-25 km from the village for medical aid,” he said.
The Congress MLA also said that he had raised the issue of spread of disease in the legislative assembly and also informed the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, “but nothing happened”.
A local activist, who did not wish to be named, said it was a matter of shame that authorities are not admitting the spread of diarrhoea in the region.
“In Mandla, people are facing a double whammy. After losing their houses and valuables in the flood, they are now facing the threat of diarrhoea,” he said.
Chief medical and health officer (CMHO) KC Meshram said he was ready to admit that 20-21 people had died of diarrhoea in Mandla.
“In the last 15 days, we have taken control over situation. But the deaths in Kapa village are not at all related with diarrhoea,” he said.
The recent deluge in Madhya Pradesh brought with it a flood of diseases including diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea is caused by increased secretion of fluid into the intestine, reduced absorption of fluid from the intestine or rapid passage of stool through the intestine.
It is important to distinguish between acute and chronic diarrhoea because they usually have different causes, require different diagnostic tests, and require different treatment.