Wednesday June 26, 2019

Water-Borne Illness Increases Sharply in Iraq

Iraq's individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage.

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Water crisis
A girl drinks water in the street outside her tent at a camp for internally displaced people in western Baghdad, Iraq. VOA

Iraqi health officials say that a health crisis stemming from water pollution and a shortage of clean drinking water has worsened in recent days, as hospitals in the southern port city of Basra treat more than 1,000 cases of intestinal infections on a daily basis. The problem was exacerbated several months ago when Turkey cut back on water distributed to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

A crowd of young men took to the streets on in the southern port city of Basra Tuesday, demanding the central government and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi increase the quantity of clean drinking water allotted to their province, otherwise it’ll lead to a health crisis. Abadi vowed to increase spending on infrastructure for the province during a visit to Basra in July.

A young man, whose friend was killed during a rally several weeks ago, broke down and sobbed over the protesters’ inability to force Iraqi leaders to improve the condition of public services in Basra, especially the region’s worn-out water infrastructure and insufficient quantities of drinking water allotted by the central government.

Some health officials in Basra warn that a cholera outbreak is possible due to water pollution and water-borne parasites that have made thousands of people sick in recent days. The director general of the Basra Health department, Riad Abdul Amir, told Al Hurra TV the situation continues to worsen.

He says more than 17,500 cases of intestinal ailments, resulting from contaminated drinking water, have been treated by Basra hospitals during the past two weeks, alone.

 

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The water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years. Pixabay

 

Abdul Amir says the problem stems from insufficient fresh water supplies coming into the city via canals and water pipes from the north.

“Salty water [which has infiltrated the water network],” he asserts, “is known to reduce the efficacy of chlorine used to treat and kill bacteria in drinking water,” he said.

Safaa Kazem, a docotor who has been treating dozens of cases of intestinal problems and diarrhea in Basra’s Sadr Teaching Hospital each day, says water from the city’s supply is not safe to drink.

She says the degree of water sterilization is minimal and that Basra’s water is very salty and has an extremely high level of microbes in it, along with a high degree of chemical pollution.

Basra Governor Assad al Edani told Al Hurra TV that his province has been suffering from numerous infrastructure problems for a long time.

He says the water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years and the old pipes often break, mixing drinking water with sewage.

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The degree of water sterilization is minimal. VOA

Edani says “not enough fresh water is arriving via the region’s only canal from Thi Qar province to the north.” He thinks a “strong current of fresh water will flush out salty water seeping into the water network from the sea.”

Also Read: Iraq Lifts Ban On International Flights to Kurdish Airports

Edani adds that the population of Basra has “more than doubled since the water network was last updated in the early 1990s.”

Iraq’s individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage, since Turkey in early June severely curtailed the number of cubic meters of water it funnels into both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (VOA)

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US Doctor Saves Person’s Life Using Apple Watch; Detects Deadly Heart Condition

The key health feature on Apple Watch is yet to arrive in India

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apple watch
The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch can check heart rhythms and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified. Pixabay

In a first, a US doctor has saved a person’s life by using Apple Watch Series 4 on his wrist to detect atrial fibrillation at a restaurant. Atrial fibrillation, a deadly and often undiagnosed condition, can lead to strokes. The condition often remains hidden because many people do not experience symptoms.

The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch can check heart rhythms and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified.

“As a physician, it’s much faster to put my #applewatch4 on someone else’s wrist to detect disease (A. fib) than finding a ECG machine at a public restaurant!

Apple watch
The key health feature on Apple Watch is yet to arrive in India. Pixabay

(Indeed, a true #mhealth guardian),” tweeted Tommy Korn MD, and ophthalmologist from San Diego, California. In the replies to his tweet, Korn said that the person diagnosed with A-fib was later doing fine.

ALSO READ: Apple Watch Can Detect And Notify Users Irregular Heart Rhythms

Apple Watch Series 4 is now helping users in the US, Europe and Hong Kong take an electrocardiogram (ECG) right from their wrist, capturing heart rhythm in a moment when they experience symptoms like a rapid or skipped heart beat and helping to provide critical data to physicians. The key health feature on Apple Watch is yet to arrive in India. (IANS)