As Pawan Kalyan visits Uddanam area, AP govt shifts focus on kidney victims

Vijayawada: As Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan is set to address the victims of mysterious kidney disease that had been victimizing hundreds of people of Uddanam area in Srikakulam district for decades, the AP government had shifted its focus on the issue. Pawan Kalyan, who tweeted about the mysterious disease and the failures of the successive governments to address the issue, is scheduled to hold a meeting with the victims at Ichapuram on Tuesday.

Taken aback at the comments of the Jana Sena chief on the issue and the failure of this government too, the State Health Ministry had announced opening of a dialysis center at Palakonda on January 5. The government is ready to open one more dialysis center in the area to address the issue and help the victims, said Minister for Health, Dr Kamineni Srinivas.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (IMRC), the Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam, Dr NTR University of Health Sciences, King George Hospital at Visakhapatnam, a team of doctors from the Harvard University have been working to demystify the disease that had struck in Itchapuram, Kanchili, Kaviti, Sompet, Mandasa and Vajrapu Kotthuru mandals of the district.

These agencies together have established two dialysis centers at Srikakulam and Tekkali, in the districts to study the reasons for the mysterious disease that had been victimizing hundreds of the people of different age groups. The studies included the food habits of the people, the water resources and pollution levels in the region that are responsible for the disease.

According to official report, over 10,000 people have died in the past one decade while the mysterious kidney disease had afflicted more than 50,000 people. Ironically, there is at least one kidney disease victim in every family in these six mandals, mostly visible in Lohalibanda, Gollapalem, Limbugam, Mamidipalli, Gollamakannapalli, Sinooru, Ramakrishnapuram and Vajrapu Kotthuru villages.

Shockingly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had already listed Uddanam area as one of the three places (the other two, Sri Lanka and Nicaragua) in the world that have chronic kidney disease. The WHO teams have also been working to find out the reasons for the disease in vain.

While investigations are going on to demystify the chronic kidney disease, the people of the area and a social activist, Dr T Jeeviteswara Rao, have been fighting for establishment of a nephrology unit in the area to provide proper treatment for them.

At least with the visit of Pawan Kalyan, the State government might think on the need to set up a nephrology unit in Uddanam area and address the issue of treatment, though investigations and research would have to continue to uncover the reasons for the outbreak of the mysterious disease.

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