Fluorosis Bends Rural Gujarat at the Knees

Poor facilities in Gujarat health centers hamper treatment of endemic disease.

About the Video: For long years, the village of Kashipura in Surendranagar district in North Gujarat was dependant on groundwater for their daily needs. There is a high natural fluoride content in aquifer systems in the area and hence, it is severely affected by fluorosis. Consuming untreated water puts the health of the people living in the area at risk.

The village of Kashipura now receives clean, safe drinking water because of a pipeline installed under the Water and Sanitation Management Organization (WASMO), an autonomous organization organization set up by the state to facilitate the participation of the people in implementing and monitoring of intra village water supply. But a whole generation in the village who have been crippled by dental and skeletal fluorosis receive no care at their local health centers. Dental fluorosis can be treated by bleaching and microabrasions but skeletal fluorosis requires long and specialized treatment.

Inspite of the ailment being common and endemic across North Gujarat, the health centers do not have the facility to cope with it. According to the country's Fluorosis Control Plan, the Ministry of Rural Area and Employment is the nodal agency that works with State Health Department and Rural Water Department. But a paper by A.K. Susheela of Fluorosis Research and Rural Development Foundation states that most health Professionals are not aware and up-to-date on the ailment and its characteristics and treatment. She also mentions an inadequacy in the work and communication of the Health Department, lack of substantial funds, lack of wareness among the public and the need for a holistic approach.

Call to Action: Community Correspondent Neeru Rathod from Surendranagar has many acquaintances who suffer from fluorosis. She says that the disease seems to hollow a person out leaving one in great pain and incapable of living a normal life. She asks concerned viewers to call  the district health officer on 0275-2285383 and deman immediate attention to this issue and to give the afflicted access to subsidized treatment and much needed relief.

Related Links:-

A.K. Susheela’s paper on India’s Fluorosis Management Programme

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