Authorities vigilant of water safety

By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-11 07:43

Ensuring water sanitation is a key task of medical workers in areas impacted by the May 12 earthquake, a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesman said Tuesday.

"Because water is an important part of food safety, medical and epidemic prevention departments have been closely monitoring water safety," Mao Qun'an told a press conference.

"Inspection reports have shown no outbreaks have yet resulted from water safety problems."

By noon on Tuesday, 5,994 of the 8,114 damaged water plants in quake-affected areas had resumed operations, the Ministry of Water Resources said.

The MOH and the Ministry of Environment Protection have cooperated to continuously and comprehensively monitor water quality throughout the commodity chain, from water sources to distribution venues, Mao said.

All inspection stations have been filing daily reports and regularly providing expert analysis. In addition, MOH has dispatched additional staffers and facilities to enhance water inspection work.

The ministry is working around the clock to supervise and guide sanitation work at venues for food and water distribution to prevent food poisonings, intestinal infections and epidemic outbreaks.

In total, the ministry has transported more than 10,000 medical, epidemic prevention and inspection workers to quake-affected areas, in addition to nearly 2,000 ambulances, epidemic prevention trucks and medical supervision vehicles.

In addition, the ministry has formulated a number of work plans on medical and epidemic prevention and supervision, and potable water management.

"Most injured people have received appropriate medical treatment," Mao said.

More than 10,000 wounded people have been successfully transferred from quake areas and are being treated at more than 300 hospitals in more than 20 provinces and municipalities.

Seriously injured victims have received special treatment from renowned medical experts nationwide.

Mao said future epidemic prevention would focus on comprehensively controlling environmental sanitation. Crucial to this is to ensuring the public safely disposes of waste and excrement.

MOH would also work to make its inspection reports more timely and detailed, and would focus on enhancing vaccination work against hepatitis A and encephalitis B, he added.

The ministry will optimize use of various resources to "make the best efforts" to save the lives of the injured. Seriously wounded people would receive intensive care at Sichuan Huaxi Hospital, the General Hospital of Chengdu Military Area and Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital, Mao said.

In addition, MOH would arrange for architectural and planning experts from the medical field to begin reconstruction work on local medical and healthcare services facilities, Mao added. While most of this work would focus on county hospitals, the ministry would also provide technical support for town clinics to ensure basic medical services for local residents.

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