Renal failure: Drinking water scheme required in NCP

By Mirudhula Thambiah

According to a research study carried out by the Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurverdic Research Centre (BMARI) between 1996 and 2008, Chronic Renal Failure is spreading rapidly in the North- Central Province (NCP).

Statistics reveal 25,000 people have been affected by the ailment and 3,000 have died over the last five years. Around 20 kidney patients attend clinics weekly. The studies carried out by the BMARI indicates there were 18,281 kidney patients in Anuradhapura and 4,607 in Polonnaruwa afflicted by the ailment.
The research conduced by BMARI in collaboration with the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine pinpoints the causes for kidney ailments in the NCP as being: drinking of irrigation water, consumption of fresh-water fish along with the skin and consuming water plants from irrigation tanks.

The study was carried out by Ayurvedic Drs. H.L Obeysekera Director of BMARI, Dr. Parakrama Hemachandra and Dr. P Hewagamage. The study was based on --sex, age group, nationality, religion and education level— noted a majority of those afflicted by the ailment came from the age group between 45 – 69 years.

The survey revealed 90% of the population in Anuradhapura were afflicted by kidney ailments, while the number of those affected in the Polonnaruwa district was 69.09%.

The survey also revealed 68.43%of patients were in the age group of 45 – 69 years. Men were seen to be among the most affected and it is surmised this was due to the fact that they worked longer hours in the paddy fields and therefore tended to consume more water from tanks.

Briefing the media at the BMARI headquarters, Dr. P Hewgamage said, chronic renal failure was not really a disease but rather an ailment developed through the intake of certain substances”
He pointed out in the Anuradhapura district nearly 87.80% of the population consumed water based plants while in the Polonaruwa district the figure stood at around 90%.

Dr. P. Hewgamage said 63.39% of those surveyed said they consumed fresh water fish and 82.4 of them said they consumed it along with the skin, while in the Polonnaruwa district 61% of its citizens consumed fresh water fish and of this number 74.80% cosumed it with the skin.

Based on these findings Dr. H.L Obeysekera Director BMARI made the following recommendations:
Minimise the drinking of irrigation water . Ensure fresh water fish be skinned prior to use and
Washing plants such as Nelum and Kohila –found in tanks-- prior to consuming them. Prohibit those below 20 from drinking water from tanks and consuming fish and water-based plants from tanks or other irrigation schemes.

The doctor proposed the setting up an alternate scheme of providing drinking water to people in affected areas as a means of weaning them away from drinking water used for irrigation purposes.

CMC ropes in Police for Dengue prevention

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) this week sought the assistance of the Police to get rid of old tyres from shops around the Sugathadasa and Khettarama stadiums in a bid to reduce the spread of Dengue.

Chief Medical Officer- CMC, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam told the Sunday Times that attempts made by the CMC to get the tyre traders to clean up had failed, and hence, had sought the assistance of the Environmental police.

He said that at least 119 Dengue cases had been reported from Colombo city and therefore, the CMC had moved into prevent an outbreak of Dengue in the city. “The problem with the tyre shops is that they collect old tyres for retreading, providing ideal conditions for Dengue to spread”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Police on Friday moved in to get tyre shop owners to clean up their surroundings and dispose of old tyres.

Snare death for Nuwara Eliya leopard

By Malaka Rodrigo

An adult male leopard fell victim to a wire snare and died at Sithaeliya in Nuwara Eliya last Sunday (23). According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred about 25m away from the main road.

Poachers usually resort to wire snares rigged out of cables used in motorbikes or trishaws to catch game animals such as wild boar. However, sources say the leopard which was seen crossing the road several times in this area could have been the target.

Several leopards had already fallen victim to these deadly wire snares, including a rare black leopard in Deniyaya in 2009. When a leopard gets caught to a snare, the wire tightens around its abdomen. On its attempt to break free, the snare further tightens, which ultimately results in damage to its internal organs.

Wildlife veterinary surgeon Dr. W.A. Dharmakeerthi who performed the postmortem on the Sithaeliya leopard, said the wire had damaged the leopard’s kidneys, resulting in its death. Dr. Dharmakeerthi advises the public not to disturb a leopard caught in a snare. When the leopard sees people, the animal panics and struggles to escape, which results in the wire tightening and causing more damage. “So, the best thing to do is to get away from there and immediately call Wildlife officers who can tranquilize the animal to set it free” instructed Dr. Dharmakeerthi.

Notice issued on IGP

In a fundamental rights petition filed by a Superintendent of Police against his unlawful interdiction, the Supreme Court directed that notice be issued on the Inspector General of Police to be present in person on the next date of hearing.

The petitioner in his submissions said that he already had filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court which is pending. The Supreme Court (SC) heard Saliya Pieris, Counsel for the petitioner, challenging the arbitrary decision to send the petitioner on compulsory leave for abiding by the rules and regulations laid down by the Elections Commissioner during the Presidential Election held in January.

The SC granted leave to proceed in the petitioner’s application for violating his fundamental rights under the Constitution. The Court also directed the 5th respondent (the IGP) to issue the petitioner his uniform and to reinstate the petitioner but the petitioner said that the 5th respondent for reasons of his own did not comply with the Court order.

When the matter was brought to the notice of the Court on December 12, the Deputy Solicitor General informed Court that steps had been taken to restore the petitioner according to the Court order and that would not prejudice the disciplinary inquiry proceedings against the petitioner.

The petitioner stated that he was reinstated on an order by the DIG at the Police College of Education, Katana and he assumed duties on December 7. The petitioner states that although he was served with the charge sheet up to now the disciplinary inquiry has not commenced and no approval has been granted for the petitioner’s defence as yet. He also says that the preliminary investigations conducted have found that the petitioner had not committed any act of misconduct.

The petitioner said that even when these accusations were found to be false he received a message dated December 12, 2010 that the 5th respondent has interdicted him with immediate effect.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice Asoka de Silva with G. Amaratunga and K. Sripavan directed the State Counsel to issue notice to the 5th respondent (the IGP) to be present in court personally on February 11. Saliya Pieris instructed by Gowri Thavarasa appeared for the petitioner.

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