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May 17, 2018

Diarrhoea starts hitting child population in the region


May 17, 2018

Rawalpindi: Diarrhoea that claims lives of nearly 250,000 children under the age of five years every year in Pakistan has started hitting child population in this region of the country as after a significant change in weather conditions, the allied hospitals in town have started receiving child patients with diarrhoea.

According to paediatrics departments at the allied hospitals, the influx of child patients with diarrhoea is not too heavy at present however the situation may get worse in next few weeks if parents do not start taking preventive measures well in time.

The paediatrics departments at the allied hospitals are still receiving child patients with acute respiratory tract infections including pneumonia however child patients with diarrhoea are also being presented, said Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at Rawalpindi Medical University and Incharge Paediatrics Department at Holy Family Hospital Dr. Tariq Saeed while talking to ‘The News’.

Terming the existing weather conditions healthy, he said the child population is not facing any epidemic at present however, paediatrics departments operating in two of the three teaching hospitals are receiving good number of patients with RTIs and diarrhoea.

Holy Family Hospital and Benazir Bhutto Hospital that are operating paediatrics departments have a capacity of 230 beds while at present well over 350 child patients are admitted in wards of the two hospitals, he said.

He said majority of child patients reaching allied hospitals with seasonal infections are found to be suffering from malnutrition, one of the biggest health threats, child population in Pakistan is facing.

With the rise in temperature in coming weeks, the child population might be at risk of contracting diarrhoea and rise in humidity would worsen the situation further, he said. He however added that an expected outbreak of gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and other summer-related diseases can be avoided if parents start following preventive measures in time.

He said it is right time to make parents aware of various aspects including preventive measures to avoid diarrhoea and other summer-related ailments. Mothers must use boiled water while preparing milk for infants and should wash hands with soup before preparing milk, he said. Drinking water must be brought to ‘rolling boil’ for 5-10 minutes before use otherwise it might not be safe for a child to consume. Also hands of children eating solid food must be washed before and after every meal, said Professor Tariq.

It is important that diarrhoea is mainly caused by the use of untreated water and unhygienic food and general public must be aware of the fact that water-borne illnesses account for nearly 60 per cent of child deaths in Pakistan with approximate 630 children dying daily from diarrhoea. Professor Tariq said school going children must have a nutritious breakfast and should be provided clean drinking water at room temperature.

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