With as many as 2,554 deaths during the past nine years in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa due to chronic renal failure, the Government will introduce new regulations to contain the disease based on the findings of the World Health Organisations (WHO), Parliament was told yesterday.
After extensive research and experiments, the WHO had submitted its final report on chronic renal failure prevalent in the agricultural areas of Sri Lanka.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena revealed this in the House in response to a question by United National Party (UNP) MP P. Harrison. The Minister said the report would be submitted to the Cabinet next week prior to the introduction of measures to contain the disease that claims the lives of farmers in large numbers, particularly in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
However, Mr. Sirisena refrained from disclosing the reasons for the spread of this disease. Yet, it is widely believed that the high content of arsenic and cadmium in the soil was the main cause for the disease.
On a request by the Sri Lankan Government, the WHO appointed a panel of local and foreign experts in 2006. The panel submitted interim reports from time to time.
“Last week, we got the final report. I will submit it to the Cabinet for further discussion. We will introduce regulations to curb the spread of this disease,” he said.
Mr. Harisson who represents Anuradhapura said the import of chemical fertilizer and pesticides should be regulated immediately. According to the official answer, as many as 6,639 cases were reported from the Anuradhapura district alone between 2003 and 2008. Besides, 1,143 persons were diagnosed with renal failure in 2009; 1451 in 2010; 1424 in 2011 and 977 up to November last year.
Nearly 1,175 cases were reported from the Polonnaruwa District during the 2006 -- 2008 period. In addition, 365 patients died in 2009; 380 in 2010; 854 in 2011 and 305 up to November, last year.
In Anuradhapura, as many as 144 patients died of the disease last year. The number of deaths in 2004 was 165. There were 105 fatalities in 2005; 194 in 2006; 202 in 2007; 167 in 2008; 332 in 2009; 246 in 2010 and 212 in 2011.
In Polonnaruwa the fatalities reported in 2004 was 94. The health authorities had recorded 33 such deaths in 2005; 102 in 2006; 92 in 2007; 79 in 2008; 79 in 2010; 160 in 2011 and 57 up to November last year.
However, Mr. Harrison disputed these figures and said the number could be much higher. Currently, chronic renal failure has been reported in other agricultural areas such as Ampara and Hambantota as well. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)
Many lives have been lost already. It is time to fast track preventive measures. It is a known fact that pesticide controls in SL are way behind most countries.
xlntgson Saturday, 09 March 2013 04:41 AM
How many tonnes of chemicals imported, and where do they go? Green and organic agri is not conducive to rich foods, poor too greedy of that?
Andrew Pitugala Saturday, 09 March 2013 05:03 AM
Can we bring in new laws to eradicate the despicable disease of bribery and curruption where sprats are caught and sharks and whales are allowed to prey freely.
Jayantha Saturday, 09 March 2013 06:07 AM
Another very very good action by the Minister. In case of cigarette he has taken the side of general public; this time too he seems taking the side of the poor masses. Congratulations Sir. We love this type of actions from Ministers. Continue the good work, you will automatically become a hero for us.
Murshid Saturday, 09 March 2013 06:19 AM
Why anyone's not protesting for the import of these chemicals, where innocent lives had been lost.
Champi Saturday, 09 March 2013 06:41 AM
Another cheap trick to divert attention from the all important halal issue.
Sapumal Bandara Saturday, 09 March 2013 07:12 AM
Do not say anyone. Ask youself why am I not protesting?
Panikkiya Saturday, 09 March 2013 10:07 AM
WHAT A FANTASTIC IDEA!!!!! Lets make heart disease, Dengue and Malaria and the like "ILLEGAL"!! HOW ABOUT THAT!!!
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