This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
2018: Water to blame for endemic kidney failures?
The health department has finally acted upon and collected water samples from Asola village, where kidney failures are reported to be endemic.
The water will be tested at the state government lab in Pune for presence of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury or chromium, which can lead to kidney ailments. A blanket health check-up is also being planned at Asola as well as nearby villages.
Many government officials swooped down on the village, days after the TOI first reported on March 9 the death of 14 villagers due to kidney ailments. Yavatmal guardian minister Madan Yerawar too reached on Sunday. A miffed Yerawar first summoned Ajay Rathore, a lab technician living in Asola, who first raised the alarm. Rathore had filed a complaint with the district collector that 14 people died due to kidney failure over the last five-six years at Asola. This had set the official machinery rolling.
“So it’s you who said that people have died of kidney failure. Please tell the cause as well,” Yerawar said to Rathore. “Do you know kidney problems can happen due to ageing, hypertension and even diabetes? You claim the water is contaminated here. I know the entire area thoroughly, why are there no deaths in neighbouring villages,” asked the minister.
Rathore says his suspicion was aroused when tests at his lab at Ner, 12km from Asola, showed high creatinine serum levels in six people in September. In February, one person died of kidney failure. “I began inquiring and found 20 others were patients at Yavatmal or Amravati hospitals for kidney ailments. On March 8, I held a blood test camp. Out of 172 persons tested, high creatinine was found in 61,” he said.
Rathore then reported the matter to the district collector. The administration, however, is not convinced. “We don’t want things to be blown out of proportion. These may be due to normal deterioration of kidneys,” said Yerawar. Rathore’s list has a 20-year-old as well as some in their 40s.
Rathore and other villagers are insisting water should be treated before it is supplied to the village. The government, on the other hand, wants to ascertain whether the kidney failures were due to water or other causes. Some other theories are also doing the rounds.
The villagers have told the minister that shopkeepers sell medicines without prescription to give relief from pain. The minister ordered sealing of all such shops immediately.
Soon after Rathore’s complaint, even the Sawangi Meghe Hospital and Medical College had waded in. Villagers say 34 persons were taken to the hospital in neighbouring Wardha. No tests were done, but the cases were judged on symptomatic basis. Out of them five returned, for lack of space in the hospital.
The health department also tested blood samples of 14 people identified by Rathore. The report says creatinine was only marginally high in one of them, said a medical official. The government medical team also countered Rathore’s report on the 172 persons tested by him. “Out of 61, only 12 have high creatinine levels, which means above 2,” said a government doctor. Other tests are needed to confirm that, the doctor said.
The doctors said out of the 14 deaths, the cause is known only in the last case. There is no record for the others.