Radio Station Battling Fluorosis In Haryana’s Mewat 

This article will enlighten you with the plight of people who are exposed to unhealthy water and efforts of Faakat Hussain, a radio jockey at Alfaz-E-Mewat for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis  by spreading awareness

Dilwar Hussain may not be able to give us the exact scientific explanation for how excessive fluoride can harm one’s bones and teeth, but he knows that it crippled his young son, causing his legs to bend.Children suffering from skeletal and dental fluorosis — marked by stained and crooked teeth, and bent legs — are a common sight in Hussain’s village, Tapatjuri, in Assam.

Another incident that happened In August, when the 13-year-old student Palak Ramesh was asked to demonstrate a few stretching exercises by the teacher at her government school in Haryana’s Khedli Khurd village, her confidence ebbed. When Ramesh tried touching her ankles or stretch her arms, her joints, back and shoulders ached. Moreover A more agonising wave of embarrassment swept over Ramesh and the quiet group of teenagers who gathered around her when they smiled – they were conscious of their yellowing teeth. It’s not that they had ignored good dental-health practices. “Hum har din brush karte hai,” protested Ramesh’s friend Arseena Vakeel.

In March, the fluoride level in the groundwater of their village was recorded as 14 mg/litre of water. A level of 1mg or less is considered normal. Mind you that Fluoride is the second-most common pollutant of drinking water in India.

Since there was no awareness about fluorosis in the village, Hussain and his team decided to use the radio – the most common medium of entertainment and information in the district – to talk about the medical condition.  Over the years, NGOs have attempted to make villagers aware of the problem and to install water filteration plants to help remedy it. In August, Alfaz-E-Mewat FM 107.8, a popular community radio station in Mewat, launched what is perhaps the most innovative effort to keep residents healthy. It kicked off a show titled Fluorosis Se Jung, or Battle with Fluorosis. This eight-episode series includes dramas and question and answer sessions with doctors. The station has also handed out 8,500 moringa, or drumstick, plants, a species that is believed to help to reduce the effects of fluorosis.

Hussain is unsure what direction the fluorosis-awareness programme will take once the radio series ends. But the change in the villagers’ approach towards the condition has been heartening. “When they had come for the session in early August, many of them thought their problems were just a part of ageing,” he said. “Now many are careful. At least, that’s what their eagerness to grow moringa in their houses shows.”