Over 4,000 persons have been registered for treatment at the Medawachchiya hospital clinical units for renal patients Minister of Indigenous Medicine Tissa Karalliyedde said.
Kebithigollewa, Padaviya, Medawachchiya, Welioya, Mihintale, Hingururakgoda, Aralaganwila, Welikanda and Dimbulagala have been identified as areas where the renal ailments are fast spreading.
President Mahindha Rajapaksa has gone to the extent of calling a team of Medical experts and researchers from World Health Organisation (WHO) to inquire in to the main cause for the spreading of renal diseases in some particular areas mainly in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts including Badulla and Monaragala.
The team after preliminary investigations instructed to encourage people to take to clay kitchen utensils instead of the large scale usage of cheap quality aluminium appliances as a reliable disease preventive measure. The Indigenous Medicine Ministry has so far distributed clay kitchen utensils worth nearly Rs. 20 million among 100,000 families mostly in the North Central Province the Minister indicated.
North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake said a comprehensive renal disease prevention programme has been launched in the province at a cost of Rs. 150 million mainly for the identification of patients and providing them medical treatments.
There are over 5,000 patients in the NCP on treatment for chronic kidney diseases. The etiology for the disease is still a mystery. However NCP together with the Sri Lanka Kidney Foundation have contributed for the construction of a five storied building in the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital complex to house a renal patients ward complex and a well equipped Renal Disease Research Centre to conduct productive research to find out a definite cure for the menace.
The Chief Minister said he has allocated Rs. 10 million in the current year for the construction work.
In the meantime a team of researchers headed by Professor Janitha K. Liyanage attached to the Chemistry Department of the Kelaniya University and the Chairperson of the Environment Committee of the Sri Lanka Institute for the Advancement of Science has been conducting a series of chemical research relating to the quality of water consumed by people in the disease spreading areas and the behavioural patterns of the renal patients in the North Central Province.
The triggering factors of chronic kidney diseases, elements and ions such as magnesium prosperous [sic], FLUORIDE, aluminium, manganese accumulated in water in the affected areas are very high compared to the water samples tested from a disease free zone.
Toxic metals have not known vital or beneficial effect on organisms and their accumulation over a period of time in a human body can cause serious illnesses like chronic kidney disease, said Professor Liyanage.
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Notes from FAN:
• High-fluoride groundwaters are found in many parts of the developing world, and many millions of people rely on groundwater with concentrations above the WHO guideline value. Worst-affected areas are arid parts of northern China (Inner Mongolia), India, Sri Lanka, West Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal), North Africa (Algeria), South Africa, East African Rift (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia), northern Mexico and central Argentina. In the 1980s, it was estimated that around 260 million people worldwide (in 30 countries) were drinking water with more than 1 mg/l of fluoride (Smet, 1990). In India alone, endemic fluorosis is thought to affect around 1 million people (Teotia et al., 1981) and is a major problem in 17 out of the country’s 22 states, especially Rajastan, Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. In Sri Lanka, fluoride problems have a strong geographical control linked to climatic conditions, with high-fluoride waters being restricted to the Dry Zone on the eastern side of the island (Dissanayake, 1991).
Reference: Water Quality Fact Sheet: Fluoride. British Geological Survey.
• See also:
Herath KRPK, Ileperuma OA, Dharmagunawardhane HA, Haller KJ. 2005. Environmentall health risk for the chronic renal failure in Sri Lanka. 31st Congress on Science and Technology of Thailand at Suranaree University of Technology, 18-20 October 2005. Available at http://www.fluoridealert.org/herath.kidney.sri.lanka.2005.pdf