TANDO MUHAMMAD KHAN - A searing heatwave persisting in the interior Sindh for the last few days has reached its pinnacle on Thursday as the mercury touched the 42-43 degrees Celsius mark, bringing a sharp increase in diarrhoea and sunstroke patients. According to the meteorological office forecast, the current hot spell may continue for the next four days. Doctors have advised the parents to protect their children from exposure to the sun and increase their children's intake of clean water.

Both government and private hospitals in different districts of Lower Sindh are receiving more children in their outpatient departments and emergencies.

Sources said in District Headquarter Hospitals (DHQs) Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Sujawal, Thatta, Badin, there is a 40 to 50 per cent rise in the number of child patients. Almost similar situation is prevailing at the OPD and emergency of the private hospitals with the recent increase in temperature.

Dr Ameer Ali Channa said the hospital had seen about 40 per cent increase in the number of patients during the current hot spell. He said 10 to 15 seriously-ill children were being admitted to the hospitals in Hyderabad, which is the city's biggest state-run facility for children, on daily basis.

He added that children diagnosed with diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases were mainly coming from congested slums, while those suffering from vomiting and stomach problems were coming from every part of the metropolis.

Suggesting parents to keep their children indoors at noon and cover their heads if they need to go out, he said heatstroke was common in children in summer. He advised the people to take adequate boiled water and other fluids to protect themselves from dehydration. He said waterborne ailments, particularly related to stomach, intestines and liver, were on the rise in the summer. He advised the people to ensure that they or their children do not consume contaminated water or substandard ice lollies instead cucumbers and melons are better alternatives to beat dehydration, provided the fruit was not rotten or overripe, he added. People should avoid eating unhygienic food and fruit being sold at the makeshift stalls at all costs, warned Dr Rizwan Talpur of the Indus Medical College warned.

He said diarrhoea and gastro, especially among children, was caused by unhygienic conditions prevailing in the city. He said sewers often burst with a rise in temperature and people fell ill by consuming sewage-contaminated water. She reiterated that people must use clean and boiled water. People could use chlorine tablets, being sold in the market, to clean the water, he said. He added that people who use boiled water must avoid cooling it with the ice purchased from the market as it was usually made from contaminated water. He said the people must thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits with clean water before consuming them. He added that children must not use unhygienic beverages, ice creams and lollies being sold outside the schools.

Meanwhile, Sath Filahi Tanzeem (SFT) has arranged a camp to provide free food, water and fruit to the poor patients admitted at the DHH Tando Muhammad Khan. The organisers of the camp Papu Baloch and Tauqeer Qazi told this correspondent that the main purpose of their organisation is to serve the humanity. They told that the camp will continue till May 4.

LOADSHEDDING CONTINUES TO INCREASE MISERIES

Moreover, as the mercury rose to 40-42 degrees Celsius in the interior parts of the Sindh, the people had to brave power outages for about five hours during the day and for a similar duration at night by the Hesco.

Indifferent to the consumers’ plight, the management resorted to heavy loadshedding to save its fuel cost. Due to such “inhuman” approach of the utility’s management, the people got electricity supply for less than 12 hours in many parts of the interior Sindh including Badin, Matli, Tando Ghulam Ali, Tando Bago, Thatta, Chohar Jamali, Jatti, Sujawal, Mirpur Bathoro, Hyderabad, Qasimabad, Latifabad, Sheedi Goth, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Ghulam Hyder, Bulri Shah Karim and Sanghar districts. The gap in electricity demand and supply is causing long spells of loadshedding throughout the day and night.

Upon contact, the Hesco official said due to prevailing harsh weather conditions, the demand of electricity increased sharply which had also increased its shortage. He said the shortage of electricity was likely to increase in the coming days due to expected severity in the weather conditions. Consumers in many parts of the city said they feared that due to the callous attitude of the utility’s invisible management, power riots might break out in many parts of the district as consumers continued to suffer prolonged power outages due to massive erosion in the generating capacity of the Hesco and collapse of its distribution system.