News: 29m exposed to arsenic (Financial Express - Dhaka)
29m exposed to arsenic
4/28/2004 The Financial Express (Dhaka)
About 29 million people in the country are exposed to arsenic contamination, Health Minister Mosharraf Hossain said in city Tuesday adding that 15,100 of them have already been identified as arsenicosis patients, reports BSS.
"Arsenic has been detected with an unacceptable concentration in tubewell water of 61 districts out of 64 in the country," the minister said at the inaugural function of a training programme for doctors on management and diagnosis of arsenicosis patients at a city hotel.
Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has organised the training for over 300 doctors.
Arsenic is a groundwater contamination and many people have died after drinking contaminated water from tubewells, which were considered as the safest source of potable water for over two-and-a-half decades in the country.
As a result, over four million tubewells were sank in the country as per the guideline of the UNICEF that made groundwater consumption popular to check diarrhoeal diseases.
The UNICEF and water experts now advocating for going back to surface water for drinking as most of the tubewells were found with arsenic, a classic agent for slow poisoning in human body. The arsenic has no treatment yet, excepting prevention.
"As prevention is still the lone solution to arsenic, the government has put special emphasis on proper diagnoses and management of diseases through mass awareness," Mosharraf said.
He urged all concerned to make united efforts for mitigation of arsenic known as chemical contamination in groundwater.
Deborah Elaine Barrie
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