The human liver is one of the most vital organs in the body. It is responsible for the filtration and detoxification of blood and production of several enzymes among the many other functions. Human beings can’t survive without a healthy, functioning liver. However, certain diseases, unfortunately, target the liver directly and cause acute liver failure. While treatable, they leave lasting impacts on its overall health. Most of the times, if immediate medical attention is not provided, it claims the life of the victim. One of the few such deadly diseases is Hepatitis, the 8th highest cause of mortality throughout the world. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that around 1.35 million people lost their lives because of this ailment, and several million more will die in the upcoming years. While this is something a lot of countries must worry about, it is perhaps Pakistan that should be one of the most concerned. Pakistan is, unfortunately, one of the countries that are affected by this life-threatening disease the most. Several reasons facilitate the spread of Hepatitis here and water contamination stands as one of the leading causes. Widespread Hepatitis Due to Contaminated Water Across Pakistan.
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While Hepatitis types A and E are not the most prevalent classes of the disease throughout the world, and in Pakistan, they still are quite ubiquitous. They are caused by Hepatitis A and E viruses, respectively. While doctors and medical experts say that mortality is low comparitively because of the said viruses, it still does not change the fact that the damage to the liver because of them is extensive and lasting.
The water and sanitation situation in Pakistan is under a crisis. Lack of governmental interest in the development of apt infrastructure, as per the needs of the ever-growing population, has resulted in a disaster. On top of this, corruption at all levels of the state departments has resulted in misallocation of financial resources and the inability to complete projects targeted at improving water conditions in the country. It is because of these reasons that over the years, the country has failed to upgrade its sanitary standing. Today, the sewerage pipes that lie under the ground, very close to the tap water pipes, are decaying or have completely decayed. This leads to the release of wastewater, which ultimately mixes with the underground water and seeps into the tap-water pipes, contaminating this vital resource. The sewerage water is full of faecal matter in which the viruses of the concerned disease thrive. Since the source of the disease relies on contamination of water, the situation in epidemic-prone.
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In cities like Karachi, which are regarded as the centres of governmental neglect, the mixing of clean water with contaminated water is rampant. It was declared in a finding that around 90 % of the supplied water in the said city is unfit for drinking. Since most of Pakistan’s population depends on tap water/ groundwater for sustenance (especially due to an inability to afford bottled water), this makes matters worse. The same polluted water is also used in the manufacturing of local street foods as well. Many restaurants carelessly employ infested water to cook the dishes to be served. All this just adds to the already existing risk of an outbreak. Widespread Hepatitis Due to Contaminated Water Across Pakistan.
In smaller villages and towns, where people rely on ponds and other similar water reservoirs, the problem is equally worse. Even though they do not have sewerage water mixing with drinkable water, the faecal matter still ends up contaminating. People usually get exposed to waste matter in open areas, near water sources, where it is washed down by the rain and into the drinking sources, facilitating the problem.
A huge population is sitting on a time bomb that could explode at any moment. Were an epidemic to spread, the results would be disastrous, to say the least. Already as of July 2019, it was bought up as an extreme matter of concern that the numbers of cases reported, daily, are staggering. The growth of the disease, from this point onward, would only be exponential if immediate action is not taken. The government should act immediately and take appropriate action to ensure sanitary situations to save the nation from a catastrophe.