More than 30 people, inhabitants of Levan commune in Fier were diagnosed with hepatitis A. The inhabitants put the blame on the Water Supply Enterprise: the potable water mixes with the waste water. We pay to get ill. The head of the Public Health, Kreshnik Tërnova: the cases of the hepatitis A do not have any relation with the potable water. The water is not polluted with bacteria; the pollution has been caused from the degradation of the pipelines.
By Arben Velo
The pollution of the potable water is doubted to have been the cause for the burst of the hepatitis A in Levan of Fier, a fact that has not been accepted by the responsible institutions. About 30 inhabitants of this area, including children belonging to different age groups, were examined with hepatitis A, recognized as jaundice. The inhabitants link this disease with the pollution of the potable water. They say that it is since several months that in their taps is running a completely dirty water with a dark colour and bad smell. The inhabitants made public their concern through a petition signed by different heads of the families, inhabitants of Levan commune, which was handed in the office of the mayor of the commune, Xheladin Malaj. Through this petition the inhabitants bring forth the fact that the hepatitis is caused by the potable water.
Water deposit in Levan village, Fier
According to the inhabitants, many members of the community, especially children up to 14 years old have displayed health problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomits, fever etc. “I hang myself in the middle of Levan if the water that comes in our taps is drinkable and clean. My nephew was urgently brought to the Paediatric Hospital yesterday with hepatitis”, says Y. Ibrahimi from Levan. According to him, everything has happened from the dirty water that especially during the last days has come turbulent with enough waste and with a heavy smell. Another inhabitant from Levan admits that it passed three months since he returned in his dwelling from Italy, and he does not use the tapping water either to wash the body or wash the clothes. “We pay for the dirty water. We simply pay it to get ill”, he admits.
The pipeline that supplies the Levan town (having more than 3000 inhabitants) with water passes through a spring that collects all the waste waters of both quarters. Filled with different kinds of urban waste the spring crosses these two quarters near to the railway. Whereas in its bed there is placed the main potable water pipeline. From here, the pipe through a pump brings the water at the highest point of the hill where is placed the water deposit for this area. But in many parts the pipe, located there in the year 1965, is degraded whereas the erosion has also deteriorated it. The drinkable water is mixed with the waste water by polluting it. Whereas, when the pump works at its maximum, the waste water does not mix with the waste waters.
Mayor of Levan commune, Xheladin Malaj
The commune mayor, Xheladin Malaj emphasizes the concerns of his inhabitants by accepting the situation of the polluted water. “It is true. The water is polluted. I have asked from the different institutions, the Prefect, Water Supply Enterprise etc to take measures for this situation”, admits Malaj. He does not forget to bring forth the argument that despite the fact that the pipelines and the existing network on one side are totally destroyed, on the other side there are holes caused by the interventions of the irresponsible people who have intervene in the main distribution system and have brought the mixture of the water with other dirty materials. According to him, they are cooperating with the Public Health Directorate and Water Supply Enterprise to eliminate this pollution. “Yes, there is a concern and even ill people with the hepatitis. The employees at the Health Centre confirmed me that there are some 30 people that have been ill during this period from this disease. But according to the health sector people, this disease is not related to the polluted water. We have informed the inhabitants to not use this water. I am with the inhabitants and I join their legal concern”, expresses the mayor of Levan commune. To the question if he has also notified the Water Supply Enterprise for the non usage of the potable water, Malaj answers that the Water Enterprise has brought its machineries to repair the pipeline and the network as well.
Heads of the Health Center in Levan say that they are monitoring the situation, which according to them in under control. The director of the Levan Health Centre, Luan Beqiraj says that the cases of the Hepatitis A have been firstly appeared in the Roma neighbourhood during this summer. “Then, through them there has been also affected a family consisting of 4 people. The children of this family are pupils of the school and through them the hepatitis was spread to the other children” admits Beqiraj. He denies the claims of the inhabitants that the hepatitis appeared from the drinkable water that they have consumed. “From the examinations that we have done to the affected people there has not resulted for the hepatitis to have come from the usage of the water. It was caused from other factors which we are under a study in the labs of our directorate”, declares Beqiraj. By making a list of the ill people, he admits that a part of them after the hospitalization were turned back in their dwellings, whereas the others are under the strict supervision of the paediatricians.
At a time that the citizens consume the water being contracted to be as drinkable water from the Water Enterprise, they are not informed on the analysis of this water, its physical and chemical conditions, the water ingredients etc. It is simply running in their taps, the inhabitants pray to have it, whereas the company sends the bills, which in the majority of cases it is a fixed monthly rate to be paid by the inhabitants. If you buy a bottle of water from different companies you will read on their label a list of the water ingredients that you consume, the physical and chemical indicators of the liquid etc. whereas completely the contrary happens with the drinkable water that comes from the water sources to our homes. No one gives any data for the water that we consume. Even for the analysis of the water that must become public they do not give any data to the citizens. The Water Supply Enterprise does not reflect at least these data in the water bills of the citizens.
The director of Levan Health Center, Luan Beqiraj
Even to the case of Levan, the Water Supply Enterprise has not given any results of the water analysis by bringing the argument that their results are given by the Public Health Directorate. In this institution, the director Kreshnik Tërnova, being contacted by investigim.al, has declared that there are three points where they get the samples for the water analysis defined and approved by the Ministry of Health. According to him, only their results are taken into consideration and recognized as the results of the analysis. From our monitoring we have concluded that in these three points the water is not loaded and the results of the analysis for the bacterial concentration have resulted negative. But we can admit that there is a water pollution due to the degradation of the pipeline which results to be very old because the network of the water supply in this area was build in 1965”, admits the director of the Fier Public Health, Kreshnik Tërnova. Related to the cases of the hepatitis that have been present these months, Tërnova said that it does not have any relation with the usage of the potable water.
The first cases of hepatitis in Levan appeared by beginning of July this year. According to information of the Fier KSI Service, being registered by the epidemiologic physician Denisa Golemi and Anila Moci, which is also owned by investigim.al, the first cases of the viral hepatitis on the infants laid in the Fier hospital are registered on the dates 16.07.2014 and 19.08.2014, both in the Roma neighbourhood in Levan. According to this confidential information from the secondary health service was reported on having cases with unspecified viral hepatitis with a very strong epidemiologic connection in the same area and from the same community. General fatigue, fever, anorexia, sub-icterus skin, urine with dark colour, abdominal pain. Based on this information, there result to be 33 cases from July 2014 to 5.12.2014. The age groups affected according to the data of the report are: 10-14 years old – hospitalization of 6 cases, 15-19 years old – hospitalization of 5 cases; 20-24 years old – hospitalization of 4 cases; 30-34 years old – medical treatment for 1 case; 35-39 years old – medical treatment for 1 case.
From the samples taken in the infection centre and the analysis carried out for the people hospitalized with the diagnosis of unspecified viral hepatitis, there was not succeeded to find the source of the hepatitis. In the epidemiological report is accepted that the source of this virus could be: the water polluted from the wells in the gardens of the families, the hygienic and sanitation conditions being in a very low level not only to the individuals but also in the dwellings. According to the report, the water from the wells (family wells) is uncontrolled. All the children that have had contact with the hospitalized children that live in a house or in the nearby dwellings according to this report were undergone the examinations to the laboratory of the Public Health Institute for the Hepatitis A in 15 samples. But at a time that the Water Supply Enterprise protects itself with the clearness of the water in the three points defined by the Ministry of Health to get the sample for the water analysis, the Public Health Directorate has advised the inhabitants through its report to not use the water of this network without boiling it. Meantime, according to the Public Health Directorate the fault remains to about 2300 inhabitants of Levan, who have been labelled in the report as not very much collaborative to follow the advice of the specialists.
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