Labutta and Bogalay struggle with dysentery outbreak

Jun 6, 2008 (DVB), A severe dysentery outbreak has occurred in Labutta and Bogalay townships in Irrawaddy division, which were among the areas worst hit by Cyclone Nargis in May.

Dr Aye Kyu, Labutta’s 1990 people’s parliament representative who runs a local clinic, said the disease was rife among the town's residents.

"I have been receiving a lot of patients at my clinic who are suffering from severe dysentery," he said.

"One of my regular patients told me that a child died of the disease in hospital yesterday."

Dr Aye Kyu said about 20 percent of patients who came to his clinic were suffering from diarrhoea.

"A lot of Labutta residents and refugees taking shelter in the town have upset stomachs," he said.

"The disease is spreading fast and people who live in villages devastated by the cyclone are having difficulties getting medical attention."

Members of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network who went with a team of doctors to the Aye Yar coastal village in Bogalay township said about 90 people in the village were suffering from dysentery.

HRDP member Ma Myint Myint Mu said the local medical services were unable to cope with the outbreak.

"I saw about 90 people in Aye Yar village suffering from dysentery. There is only one nurse in the village so there is no significant medical care for the villagers," Myint Myint Mu said.

"There are no proper toilets in the village. People who have diarrhoea have to use plastic bags," she said.

"The villagers were facing shortages of clean water when we arrived, so we installed water purifying equipment for them, but we could not afford to build toilets for them this time because the prices of zinc sheets and wood are very high now."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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