Diarrhea hits Ha'apai but 'under-controlled'

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Health experts are battling to prevent widespread illness after reports this week that diarrhea and skin diseases surfaced in areas of Ha’apai which were hardest hit by the Cyclone Ian.

So far hospital record shows 40-50 cases reported and the health officer -in-charge of Ha'apai's Niu'ui Hospital said they need more medical supplies.

Ha'apai is now facing water scarcity and some areas severely affected by the cyclone are looking at restoring old wells that have been left  unused for years, a source who asked to remain anonymous told Kaniva News.

Dr Tevita Vakasiuola said, the islands of Foa and the village of Fakakakai in Kauvai have no running water since the cyclone hit but NEMO is working to restore and install water supplies to those areas.

Dr Vakasiuola said it is common that unclean and contaminated water are major contributors to the cause of diarrhea and skin disease.

“The condition at the moment is not serious. I just checked our record we just have three patients admitted this morning [Mon 20],” he said.

It is understood most of the cases were not admitted to the hospital but medically treated by health offficers at the patients' homes

“The number of cases we were able to record was based on reports by our health officers who are working in the areas as well as people who were admitted to hospital within just one week,” the doctor said.

The category five cyclone struck the islands of Ha'apai causing catastrophic destruction to about 100 percent of the housing, UN report says.

Water

“Eighty percent of the water tanks in Ha'apai have been medicated,” Dr Vakasiola said.

But he advised that people boil the water before drinking.

On a separate case, Dr Vakasiuola said there were “more than hundred cases now admitted to hospital of people having injuries because of stepping on nails”.

“We received quite a number of cases on that. People stepping on nails but again no serious cases.  We just treated them and let them go home,

“But we expect more on this as it happens while people now clearing up their homes," the doctor said.

Medical supplies

“We need more medical supplies for the diarrhea we still have some medication here but not much left,” Dr. Vakasiuola said.

Kaniva understands a team of  French specialists conducted an overall tactical assessment report in the affected areas in the weekend.

A source said the need for medical supplies and treatments for diarrhea was highlighted  in the French report.

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