Alarm swine flu: at least 30 dead and hundreds sick
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - At least 30 deaths and hundreds of sick people is the provisional toll caused by swine flu (H1N1) that has hit Jajarkot district north-east of the country. According to local media medicines are lacking and healthcare personnel are reluctant to work in the area after several cases of doctors infected with the same virus. The Nepalese army, individuals, medical associations and Caritas are on the frontline in trying to solve the problem.
Geeta Shakya, director of the National Public Helath Laboratory, says: "The test sample show that swine flu is spreading rapidly. The situation of the people is also complicated by the change in seasonal temperatures. If we do not take series countermeasures - he continued - an epidemic across the country and in neighboring countries: China and India is likely. "
The most serious problem is the lack of necessary medicines: health care staff working in the district blames the government of incompetence.
According to local people, the doctors and nurses refuse to work for fear of contracting the disease. Many have left the district and those moved in from other regions refuse to work. "The work environment is not hygienic - said one of them - and we have no guaranteed food and lodging to work here. If the government forces us to work in these unhealthy conditions, we will quit to save our lives. "
Minister of Health Khagaraj Adhikari, justifies government actions: "We are doing our best to obtain more doctors and more drugs. If any doctor or medical staff refuses to work, we will take action. "
The conditions of the mountainous district of Jajakort are alarming. Oppressed by poverty and deprivation, families cannot afford to attend good clinics and lack basic health education, becoming vulnerable to new epidemics. Six years ago there was a similar case, when people began to die of diarrhea (which turned out to be cholera) because they lacked the basic medicines.
Rokaya Gopal, member of the Village Development Committee of the City of Paink, lost his two children two days ago: "I lost my two children because I did not have medicines. When I went to the district health office, they told me that the store was empty and that the capital had not provided any other medicines. We are losing our lives – he continues - and the government teases us with empty words. Even basic medicines such as paracetamol, are easy to find. "
The subspecies pdm09 A H1N1 virus, found in eight patients, is the same one that caused the global pandemic of 2009, which according to the World Health Organization caused over 18 thousand victims. So far this year, about 900 people have died of swine flu in India.