Daily Star

  • Scarcity of drinking water poses serious health hazard

    Many residents of East Sholoshohar are to depend on unusable pond water for household work as the Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) is unable to supply optimum water for them in the ward.

  • Climate change causes infectious diseases

    An integrated approach is needed to face the challenges of human and animal diseases, as climate change contributes to emergence of new infectious diseases, experts told a seminar yesterday. The British Council organised the seminar titled 'Infectious diseases: A vision for future detection, identification and monitoring' as part of a campaign for having a universal action plan to tackle veterinary infectious diseases. The seminar was also designed to raise the level of understanding of the policymakers, researchers and health experts about the issue. Dr Joe Brownlie of Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in London, attended the seminar as the keynote speaker. Dr Joe Brownlie highlighted the results of a recent UK foresight report on technological and policy priorities for meeting the future challenges of infectious diseases, which would affect humans, plants and animals. Director of British Council Dr June Rollinson and Vice Chancellor of Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Prof Nitish C Debnath also spoke on the occasion. Experts, teachers of veterinary science, microbiologists and pharmacists attended the seminar.

  • Small factories in Rajshahi to remain shut on Sundays

    All small industries and factories in Rajshahi region have been asked to keep shutters down on Sundays to save power for its supply for Boro irrigation. Rajshahi divisional Power Development Board (PDB) yesterday circulated a notice in this regard. The notice said, all small industries and factories will remain closed on Sundays. Shops will be closed after 8 pm and welding factories at 5 pm everyday, the notice said.

  • Prof Tamim to attend confce on renewable energy in USA

    Chief Adviser's Special Assistant for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Prof M Tamim leaves for the USA today to attend a conference titled 'Washington International Renewable Energy 2008'. Seventy-five ministerial-level representatives from different countries are likely to participate in the conference, organised jointly by American Council on Renewable Energy and an organisation of 14 international businesses dealing with renewable energy. The first and second conferences on renewable energy were held in Germany and China in 2004 and 2005 respectively with the participation of world leaders.

  • Pneumonia major killer of children in Bangladesh

    Pneumonia has been claiming the highest number of child lives in the country, despite a remarkable progress in under-five child survival for immunization and oral saline over the last three decades, pediatricians and health scientists said here yesterday. "Pneumonia is still the leading cause of childhood deaths in Bangladesh,' Steve Luby, agency head of Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Embassy in Dhaka, told a symposium. Bangladesh Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (BSPID), a newly formed body of Paediatricians and health scientists, organised the two-day function at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre, where experts from home and abroad are participating. BSPID President and former director of Dhaka Shishu Hospital Prof Manzoor Hussain chaired the inaugural function, addressed by National Prof M R Khan, noted paediatrician Prof MQK Talukder, Prof Dr Satish Deopoojari of India, BSPID Secretary General Dr Samir K Saha, and BSPID Executives Dr Reaz Mobarak and Dr Mizanur Rahman. Steve Luby, also head of the programme on infectious disease of International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), said one in five children per 1,000 died within five years of their age during 1975, but this number has come down by 75 percent over the last three decades. "There is a 90 percent reduction alone in diarrhoea-specific deaths over last 30 years,' he said referring to the statistics of the latest Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS). He said Bangladesh is one of the three to four developing countries heading successfully towards achieving millennium development goals (MDGs). Steve Luby referred to the findings of a three-year community and hospital-based surveillance in urban Dhaka ended in 2007 and said meningitis, pneumonia, severe pneumonia and very severe pneumonia were common causes of child illnesses. He also said streptococcus, and influenza are important paediatric pathogens in Bangladesh. Answering to a question he said the problem of pneumonia necessitates a combined effort from paediatricians, parents and policymakers for further reduction in under-five child mortality and morbidity in the country, where prevalence of pneumonia is around 40 percent among sick children. He also expressed hope that the World Health Organization (WHO) would soon recommend alternative antibiotics of ampicillin and penicillin for such treatments at a low cost. Prof Talukder underscored the need for popularising breastfeeding further among mothers from all walks of life. The children who are not breastfed are four times susceptible to infection than the breastfed children, he pointed out and added that breastfeeding could be one of the best means to prevent child mortality. Prof Manzoor Hussain said the BSPID has been formed to work as a catalyst to groom specialised paediatricians and train general practitioners across the country to treat emerging and reemerging infections among children. The incidence and prevalence of infectious diseases among children are very high, despite successful running of the extended programme for immunization (EPI). "The emerging infection diseases such as nipah virus and HIV/AIDS need specialised persons to deal with,' he said, adding that the DSPID would work as an umbrella organisation to help the doctors who want to develop their career as 'infectious disease paediatricians.' A total of 125 doctors have already joined in BSPID for the purpose, he added. According to Unicef statistics, under-five child mortality mostly results from neonatal mortality, which makes up 55 percent of such deaths in Bangladesh. More than 120,000 neonates die within four weeks of their birth every year and most of these deaths occur at homes, where 90 percent of deliveries take place without proper safety. Malnutrition and lack of health education are seen two other factors killing children.

  • Untreated waste from yarn dyeing mills poses health hazard in Sirajganj

    Toxic water released from several yarn dyeing and processing mills in Belkuchi upazila of Sirajganj district is polluting the local environment, causing untold suffering to thousands of people and posing serious health hazard. Influential people set up the mills in an unplanned way without any treatment plant and drainage system, by managing some unscrupulous officials of the relevant sections, said local residents. Over 100 yarn dyeing and processing mills at different villages including Tamai, Shohagpur, Garamashi, Chala, Chandangati and Mukundagati have no treatment plant and they were set up without permission from the authorities concerned, locals said. Eleven of the mills owned by Aziz Sarker, Hiron Munshi, Labu Shaikh, Anwar Hossain, Badol Khan, Abdul Kader, Hiron Sarker, Babu Salam, Rejaul Karim, Khokon and Abdul Motin at Tamai village are posing most serious threats, they said. Toxic chemicals like sulphuric acid, acetic acid, hydrogen-per oxides, caustic soda, bleaching powder, silicate, glace and colours are used in these mills to treat the thread or cottons. After releasing from the mills, the untreated water is mixed with ponds and marshes in the area and creates serious health hazards. An acute crisis of pure and clean drinking water is prevailing in the area as toxic wastes from the mills are mixed with the under ground water, turning water from the tube-wells yellowish. Many people are being affected with skin diseases, diarrhoea, dysentery, eye infection and nausea due to use of the water. Mukti Khatun, 35, wife of Golam Kibria of Tamai village, said she has been suffering from skin diseases for the last few years. Her seven-year-old child has been affected with gastric disease by drinking the toxic water, she quoted doctors as saying. The toxic water has damaged fertility of hundreds of acres of croplands and fishes of ponds and marshes in the area. Many fruit bearing trees in the area have died while taking of the toxic wastes from drinking the water also caused the death of domestic animals and fowls including cows, goats, ducks, hens, villagers said. Many houses made of corrugated iron sheets in the area became rusty and got damaged within a short time due to the vapour and toxic waste of the mills. The atmosphere in and around of the mills has become seriously dirty and unhygienic, as the water remains stagnant in absence of proper drainage system. Azam Khan, Dulal Mollah, Mohsin Pramanik, Fazlur Rahman and Zamal Uddin of Tamai village said several times they went to Belkuchi upazila Sanitary Inspector Mohammad Ali Jinnah to discuss with him about the ways to get rid of the problem but he ignored them. They also submitted petitions to the deputy commissioner in Sirajganj, UNO in Belkuchi, director of Department of Environment (DoE) in Bogra, Rab and Army to take initiative for saving the environment, but to no effect. Even a case was lodged with Belkuchi Police Station in this connection against the mills owners. The complainants said Director of DoE Bogra office Mosharraf Hossain misbehaved with them and threatened to get them arrested by police, if they further demand proper action against the mills owners. Contacted over phone three times, Mosharraf Hossain declined to make any comment saying that there was network problem and he was busy. Aziz Sarker, owner of SI process mill, said, no one of authorities concerned ever asked him to stop the mill or set up a treatment plant since its establishment. Belkuchi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Khairul Alam Sheikh said he has written to the authorities concerned suggesting setting up of necessary treatment plants in the area.

  • 25,369 more fowls culled

    About 25,369 chickens infected with bird flu were culled and 2,372 eggs were destroyed at eight farms in three districts in the last two days. With the culling, the total number of culled chickens rose to 1084,473 while the number of destroyed eggs stands at 1,458,967 since February 2007. Bird flu control room sources said the number of affected farms will start falling rapidly as temperature begins to rise. At least 11,383 chickens were culled and 2050 eggs were destroyed at National Hatchery Pvt Ltd of Akhter Hossain Babul in Gazipur on Wednesday night, bird flu control room sources said. A total of 9,575 chickens were culled and 200 eggs were destroyed at Aqua Land Agro complex of Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan at Savar after avian influenza virus was detected at the farm. Besides, 776 chickens were also culled at another farm at Ashulia. Meanwhile, 295 bird flu infected chickens were culled and 122 eggs were destroyed at a farm in Natore on Tuesday night. Besides, about 3,340 chickens were culled at four farms in the district.

  • Int'l zoological confce begins at RU

    The 16th Biennial International Zoological Conference began at Kazi Nazrul Islam auditorium of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday. The theme of the three-day conference is 'Natural resources conservation: Zoological perspective'. Department of Zoology of Rajshahi University organised the conference. Quazi Azhar Ali, vice-chancellor of Bangladesh University, attended the inaugural session as the chief guest. RU Vice Chancellor Prof Altaf Hossain also chairman of organising committee of the conference delivered the welcome address while Zoology department Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan presided over the inaugural ceremony. A total of 100 researchers of zoology will present their research papers during the conference.

  • 20,185 more fowls culled

    Culling of fowls in bird flu affected areas in the country continued with 20,185 chickens slaughtered and 49,507 eggs destroyed yesterday in Dhaka, Satkhira and Kishoreganj. As of yesterday, a total of 9,88,916 chickens have been culled and 12,21,143 eggs destroyed since February 2007 after the disease hit the country. The livestock officials slaughtered 1,432 chickens at MS Agro Farm of Mahbubul Haq at Kamlapur village of Birulia under Savar yesterday after the deadly disease was detected there, the bird flu control room sources said. Our Satkhira correspondent reports: At least 2,970 chickens, 100 ducks and 52 pigeons were culled and 309 eggs were destroyed at six poultry farms in village Magura of Sadar upazila last night after the presence of avian influenza was confirmed at a farm. District Livestock Officer Deb Narayan Roy said they collected samples of some dead chickens from Star Poultry Farm on Friday and sent those to Dhaka for test where the presence of deadly bird flu virus was detected. Eight teams from the District Livestock Office conducted the culling in Magura village and the 1 square kilometre adjoining area with the help of law enforcers and upazila administration. Meanwhile, at least 16,020 fowls were culled in the early hours yesterday at a farm at Kishoreganj sadar upazila following the detection of avian influenza virus, reports our Kishoreganj correspondent quoting the District Livestock Office (DLO) sources. So far, a total of 37,020 fowls had been culled in the district after the deadly disease broke out, the DLO sources said. District Livestock Officer Nurul Islam and Upazila Nirbahi Officer Shahnewaj Dilruba Khanam were present during the culling of the chickens at Aqua Culture Agro-based Fishery and Poultry Farm owned by Khaled Saifullah Shohel at the Beruail village. Talking to The Daily Star, the distressed farm owner said that while each chicken cost him over Tk 350 to rear it to the present egg-laying stage, the government is providing only Tk 96 per chicken as compensation. He would suffer a loss of around Tk 50,000 due to this, he added.

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