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::By Lalmalsawm Sungte::

[Photo 1- The back of a child affected by 'Mautam Hri' 2. A child being treated at a village in Tipaimukh sub-division of Manipur. Photo by Lalremlien Neitham]

May 5, 2009 (Inpui News&Info): At least 35 children have lost their lives in Thanlon and Tipaimukh sub-divisions of Manipur in the last four months. The killer disease referred to as 'Mautam Hri' (Mautam Disease) by the locals had claimed 50 lives last year.

Highlighting the deplorable health scenario in this southern region of Manipur, Sinlung Peoples Human Rights Organisation (Siphro), Hmarram Cell, said in a press release on Monday that those affected by the disease show signs of fever, dysentery and respiratory problems. Besides, their bodies turn black soon after their death.

Condemning the "callous attitude" of doctors who went on making "guest appearances" to their places of duty, Siphro said it held them "fully responsible for every death that counts and we condemned them in the strongest possible term". "With no doctors willing to go their designated station the disease remains a big threat, bringing miseries and hardships for the affected people and their families," the release stated.

Siphro also rejected the report prepared by Churachandpur District TB officer Dr P Nengzadou about his visits to Parbung and Senvon villages as an "eyewash account with no truth in it". "In giving a report that over simplifies the sufferings of the affected people Dr P Nengzadou clearly shows that he is least interested in knowing the conditions and how the disease could be controlled," Siphro said.

Stressing the need for government officials to be pro-active in checking the spread of the disease Siphro, Hmarram Cell, demanded "doctors and nurses must return to their places of posting" while efforts should also be made for "easy access to medicines".

The disease has already claimed the lives of 35 children and immediate action from the government is necessary to tackle the situation before it goes out of hand, the release added.

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