Spurt in incidence in hamlets sets alarm bells ringing
In mid-July, Barothu Chandru became the 14th person surviving with one kidney in Mansingh, a Lambada hamlet in A. Konduru mandal of Krishna district, where four villagers have died due to renal failure in the last three years.
At least 14 others are afflicted by the kidney ailments, the causes for which are not yet conclusively established, while fluorosis is believed to be one of the factors.
Nearly 60 Lambada families are living here, eking out a living on agriculture.
Both the kidneys of another patient —Barothu Gandhi — have failed.
“A vaastu expert advised us to demolish our pucca house to get well soon and we have done it. We have sold three acres of land to meet my husband’s medical expenses in the last six years,” Mr. Gandhi’s wife Barothu Amma told The Hindu. “Now, our family has lost everything; house, land and two kidneys of my husband. Our hope of recovery from the ailments is lost too,” said Ms. Amma, whose family lives in a thatched house.
The kidney patients here told The Hindu that the expenditure incurred by them comes to a whopping 9,000 rupees [$141] a month on medicines apart from free dialysis services they get.
There are families such as Barothu Sukru, Barothu Ramu, Barothu Mangya, Barothu Bitchya and Lavoori Paapa who spend their entire monthly incomes on medicines for those stricken with the kidney ailment. ‘Grade-III renal parenchymal change’ is what was found among the patients during the medical tests done by nephrologists.
Water to blame?
Vijayawada-based Arun Kidney Centre Nephrologist N. Ammanna told The Hindu that consumption of fluoride water could be a major reason for the failure of kidneys and bone ailments in Lambada tandas.
He has been treating a majority of the kidney patients from A. Konduru for the past few years.
Urologist C.V. Satish Kumar, who is also treating the kidney patients from A. Konduru, opined that a study on the diet habits was needed to be done. “Drug (medicine/tablets) misuse is very high among the Lambadas,” added Dr. Satish Kumar.
On the other hand, all the Lambada tandas among the 26 habitations in A. Konduru mandal have been declared ‘fluoride-affected’ based on the study by the Rural Water Supply Department.
The fluoride level here is 2.4 mg/l as against the permissible 0.6 mg/l.
District Medical and Health Officer P.V.S.N. Sastry said many kidney ailment cases were found during a camp held recently in Gampalagudem but there were no reports of the prevalence in the Lambada tandas.
In A. Konduru mandal alone, Peda Thanda, Kesya-Gamya, Mansigh, Deepla Nagar, Chaitya tandas have been witnessing an alarming rise in the number of kidney ailments in recent years.
However, the plight of the tribal kidney patients has failed to draw the State government’s attention even as the diseases are taking a toll.