Fluoride Action Network

Doc plays good Samaritan to children suffering from fluorosis

Source: The Times of India | February 21st, 2009 | By Dipak Mishra
Location: India

PATNA: Noted surgeon Dr V S Singh is playing a good Samaritan to 11-year-old Rajesh Kumar and 9-year-old Roop Kumar, both sons of Ishari Yadav of Kacharadih village under Rajauli sub-division in Nawada district. Both the children are suffering from fluorosis caused due to intake of water having high content of fluoride resulting in weakening of the bones.

“The cortex of the bone thins out making the bone weak and flexible,” Dr Singh said and pointed out that the two children were operated on a trial basis. “I have kept the children at my clinic and the Lions Club has decided to foot their medicine bills,” he said.

Dr Singh and his team of doctors visited Kacharadih and its adjoining village Haldia last year and were devastated at what they saw there. They identified as many as 116 fluorosis-affected children from downtrodden section of the society. “All of them have deformed limbs. There is nothing much which can be done for the elderly-affected persons. But at least by trying to treat these children, I may be saving them from becoming beggars,” Dr Singh said, adding the treatment is going to be a costly affair. He said in his 42 years of service, he had never seen so many such cases in one area.

The identification of the fluorosis-hit villages was done after head of the department of environmental science, A N College, Patna, Bihari Singh and his team visited the two villages. The result of the test of water samples of handpumps was alarming. Against the acceptable safety norm of 1.5 particle per million (ppm) of fluoride, the tests revealed that the content of fluoride was as high as 5 ppm. “The people of this area were badly affected due to physical and dental deformities,” he said.

Singh and his team were instrumental in getting three handpumps installed by a corporate dealer of Patna to provide safe drinking water to around 2,000 villagers in the area.

“One of the pumps was installed near the local police station as the policemen were also using a water source having excess fluoride,” said scientific supervisor of A N College Kamal Kishore Singh. He said that the situation was pretty bad. “I remember seeing a child whose limbs were twisted like a `Jilebi’,” he said.

He said that ironically there is a PHED water tower in the locality. “We have checked the water of the tank and it is completely safe. Unfortunately, the running of the motor and the tower is at the disposal of the Mukhiya. Local residents told me that the Mukhiya always tells them there is no diesel to run the motor,” he said.