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Diarrhoea causes deaths in remote Thanchi as health authorities struggle to reach the afflicted

  Bandarban Correspondent,

The Health Services Division has sent out a team of physicians to Thanchi Upazila’s Remakri in Bandarban after receiving reports of several people dying of diarrhoea.

With the isolated area disconnected from the mobile phone network, there is confusion over the death toll.

Wahiduzzaman, Health and Family Planning Officer of Thanchi, on Sunday said: “Thanchi health division has so far received reports of three deaths… and 60 others are suffering from diarrhoea in different areas.”

The authorities have identified two of the dead so far - Karbari Menthang Mro, 48, from Menthang Para and Longri Mro, 50, from Longan Para.

“It's been difficult to get information from there with no mobile phone network in the remote area. Yet the Health Division, local public representatives and BGB personnel are doing their best to curb the disease there,” Wahiduzzaman said.

Remakri Union is the most outback region of Thanchi Upazila. It is only accessible by boat from the Upazila Sadar. It takes a small engine-driven boat four hours to reach Baramadak Bazar near Myanmar’s border. From there, it is another hour-long boat ride to where the diarrhoea broke out.

Mangchong Mro, a member of 6 No. Ward of the Union Parishad, on Sunday said the disease spread to six areas of his ward, where the Mro community live, and another area where the Marma people reside.

He claimed that four people had died. He accounted for the deaths of 60-year old Krayang Mro from Ongnong Para and a 12-year-old from Singchang Para, who is yet to be identified, along with the other two.

Manchang also said several of the infected had recovered after taking medication their relatives brought from Baramadak Bazar. But the condition of those who did not take  medicine was deteriorating fast. Baramadak Bazar, too, was going through a saline and medicine crisis.

He mentioned that medicines worth Tk 26,000 were bought from Thanchi Dadar Bazar, where Tk 10,000 was left as dues. These medicines were sent to the inflicted on Saturday.

Nihar Ranjan Nandi, the district civil surgeon, said: “We’ve received reports of two deaths.”

“Three to four teams from the Health Division were sent to the areas where diarrhoea has broken out with sufficient medicines, water-filtration tablets and oral saline.”

She pointed out that it took a long time for the word to arrive from the remote areas and to travel from one region to another to provide health services.

Remakri UP Chairman Kuisaithui Marma said, “The residents of those areas are also inflicted by malaria, along with diarrhoea. The Upazila administration and Health Division are informed about this fact. The union councilis also trying its best to bring the disease under control.”

The residents of these inaccessible areas catch the disease mainly by drinking unclean water, Wahiduzzaman said.