No check on sale of substandard food, drinks in Ramazan

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Zubair Qureshi

Rawalpindi—Whereas general business declines during Ramazan-ul-Mubarak, a month of blessings and virtues, a large number of makeshift stalls offering substandard dates, lemonade and spicy foods (samosas, pakoras, and chat) dot the city.
These outlets respect the holy month to the extent that they don’t sell their things during the daytime but as soon as the sun sets there is no end to sale of such unhygienic food and drinks and the simple residents of the city relying on the face value purchase these unhealthy things.
There is a dangerous trend of rise in business of spicy food items and they are causing health risk to the people unabatedly. Most of these stalls have already been in the business even days before the start of the holy month. The rising trend among the residents regarding use of spicy food and beson (gram flour) items often results in gastric acidity. The city hospitals are already stormed by the patients with complaints of gastric acidity and it is feared that the number might double in the days to come. Around 100 patients are reporting daily with complaints of gastric acidity at each of the allied hospitals. When asked, a doctor in Medical Ward of Holy Family Hospital confirmed rise in the number of patients suffering from gastric troubles. The cause for such diseases are acid secretion, spicy and heavy meals and sedentary lifestyle, he said.
He advised the residents a healthy lifestyle. In order to keep healthy and fit during the Ramazan, people should walk daily for at least 20 minutes and avoid lying down after taking Sehri, he said.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad Capital Territory Health Department has also directed the field staff—sanitary inspectors and lady health workers—to generate awareness among public about prevention and control on water and vector borne diseases in the high transmission season that has already set in.
According to an official of the Health Directorate, the field staff has been directed to closely monitor the situation to avoid any water born outbreaks, since the surveillance depends on the fact that epidemics are first recognized at the Rural Health Centre (RHC) and Basic Health Unit (BHU) level where the weekly number of cases in each area should be compared to baseline data derived from routine surveillance during previous months and years. The health facility staff should know the excess occurrence of any disease to take prompt action to stop the disease assuming the form of an epidemic.
The sanitary inspectors have been asked to take preventive and control measures to avoid outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis. They would work to ensure proper chlorination of drinking water at its source and at the storage tanks inside houses. They are asked to inspect and issue guidelines for any repair of the water distribution system required so that stagnant rain water mixed with sewage may not be sucked into the drinking water supply lines, said the official. Another tip for those suffering gastric acidity is to use two pillows instead of one, he said. Using light digestible food instead of the spicy food will also prove quite helpful against the gastric ailment, he said.

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