Poor sanitation in schools cause spread of Hepatitis

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said yesterday the poor conditions of Colombo schools have contributed to the current outbreak of Hepatitis in the city. Dr. Kariyawasam said most of the small schools in the city lack basic sanitation facilities and the toilets were in very poor condition and lacked water supply. Some schools were found without proper drinking water facilities according to him. Schools have been subjected to inspection as it was found that the majority of the infected persons during the past two months were of school attending age. Accordingly there had been 39 cases of Hepatitis and all of them were reported to be school children. Dr. Kariyawasam explained the outbreak was reaching its peak level but was confident that it would be under control in a few weeks time. The CMC has carried out intensive house to house inspections and education programmes to prevent further spread of the disease. Thousands of leaflets have been distributed among the residents in Modera, Mahawatte, Mattakkuliya and Bloemendhal areas. Water samples were taken from the main lines and checked for germs and all were found to be negative. Dr. Kariyawasam explained the CMC has planned to carry out disinfection programmes in schools from today. All water supply points would undergo chlorination. "However, there has to be a long term plan to build proper toilet facilities and provide adequate water supply to these schools which are attended by children of marginalised families/communities in the city,' he said .

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