As thousands lie dying of CKDU (Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology) in the NCP(North Central Province), and half the dialysis machines in the hospitals there are not functioning due to maintenance issues the Govt is partying. A WHO report has finally come up with the conclusion that an unholy mix of Arsenic, Cadmium, Fluoride in the water and a few other Chemicals are the most likely cause of the disease.
In my non Scientific mind I could have come up with the same conclusion, and perhaps I already have in an earlier blog entry, that I need to search. So what do we do about it before more get the disease, and how can we reduce the impact on those already likely affected?
There are NO answers to this, whilst the state is engaged in wasting taxpayers’ money on projects that at best will only show a return once half the people in the NCP are dead!
What ought to be done NOW, with NO further delay?
1 Take immediate steps to give each well in the NCP a ID number and test its water. Once tested as within safely acceptable range prepare a hardy board showing that fact and the date of expiry of this validity (not more than 2 years)
2 Distribute water filter units, either free or at subsidized rates to areas of high concentrations of unacceptable quality. This step is to try and ensure that people can immediately consume safe water, which will hopefully reduce the intensity of the disease, and hopefully even prevent the onset.
3 At the same time, list all pesticides for banning, get the suppliers to provide an alternative solution to those removed from the market. Gazette a ban on the import of these Chemicals along with a hefty fine for those found breaking the law.
4 Hold a series of meetings to explain the facts to farmers, so that they are engaged in the debate, not just to tell them by way of orders. They can then express their fears, especially those who have been brought up on Pesticides and are unable to work without them.
5 Immediately repair all malfunctioning equipment at these hospitals, and ensure that the patient support is beefed up, as many patients have to travel a long distance in tiring conditions to receive treatment, and one must bear in mind the strain on the body of these processes.
6 Look at and implement long term plans to return the soil to its previous state of the absence of chemicals.
7 Conduct ongoing research on the success of 1 to 6 above to determine what else is needed.
8 Purchase the necessary testing equipment to test the water contamination as an ongoing permanent feature.
The human and healthcare cost of this disease is phenomenal and it is important that resources are productively spent, getting the best bang for our scarce buck.
Let us NOT delay in this work, as compared to so much extravagant spending the Country engages in today there will be an immediate return on investment that is measurable, so please don't delay any longer. Politicians - there is not money to be made in SL on this issue, but productive lives for its citizens is reason enough to get down to business without further delay.