As the financial year comes to a close, the state health department is releasing the Central funds for fluorosis control in four districts. The state was sitting on the funds, which the Centre had released for these districts around eight months ago. The districts chosen by the government for the first phase of the programme are Rae Bareli, Unnao, Pratapgarh and Firozabad.
While Rae Bareli and Unnao received Rs. 25 lakh each in the first phase, the other two got Rs. 41 lakh each. On Thursday, the funds were handed over to the districts at a meeting of the nodal officers called by Dr SP Ram, Director General, Health.
“We have released Rs. 25 lakh to Unnao and Rs. 41 lakh to Pratapgarh and Firozabad each,” said Dr AK Dhawan, Director, Communicable Disease, and in charge of the fluorosis control programme. Rae Bareli is still to get the funds as the representative from the district was absent, said Dhawan.
All four districts are supposed to establish a lab within three months for fluoride detection in serum, urine and drinking water — Rs. 7 lakh has been allotted for the purpose to each.
A lab technician and an entomologist or a microbiologist will have to be appointed for these laboratories in the next six months. A consultant will also have to be hired, who will help train human resources and identify and treat patients.
In Unnao, one of the worst hit districts, of 1,693 villages, around 1,427 are affected by fluorosis. In Firozabad, around 1.5 lakh people residing in 40 villages are suffering from the ailment. In Rae Bareli, four blocks are feared to be affected. Pratapgarh is yet to do its final survey, but a pilot survey done last year found two villages affected.