1,563 diarrhoea patients have been given treatment since April 10, when the disease first broke out in the district.
Cases of diarrhoea have risen alarmingly in Gopalganj since April 10.
The 250-bed Gopalganj General Hospital, one of the biggest diarrhoea treatment centres in the district, is currently treating diarrhoea patients beyond the facility's normal operation, said physicians.
Diarrhoea outbreak is common during summer but recently it is rising alarmingly, said Dr Asit Kumar Mallik, assistant director of the hospital.
Pollution of the Madhumati River water has increased, and as a result, people are contracting waterborne diseases, he added.
Meanwhile, medical services are being disrupted due to insufficient supply of saline.
Hospital sources said 1,563 diarrhoea patients have been given treatment since April 10, when the disease first broke out in the district.
Asit Kumar Mallik said it is also one of the symptoms of Covid-19.
Presently, the authorities are discharging diarrhoea patients immediately after they are showing improvement to cope with the pressure, he said.
Hospitals treating patients in excess of their capacity
The diarrhoea ward has only 13 seats, said a nurse of the hospital, adding that 30-40 patients are being admitted on a daily basis.
Patients are staying on the floor and staircases or wherever they can find a place, she said, adding that the situation has become dire day by day.
Patient Abdur Rahman who came from Tejergati village of Sadar upazila alleges that he is staying out of ward beside a drain in an unhealthy environment.
Rasida Begum of Borni village in Tungipara said she got admitted on Thursday but has not been provided with any medicine yet.
When contacted, Civil Surgeon Dr Sujat Ahmed said the disease has increased in many areas of the district due to pollution of the Madhumati River.
The people of the region have been suggested to drink boiled water, he added.
Rise in salinity having a devastating effect
According to Dhaka Tribune reports published on May 11, sudden rise in the salinity level of the Madhumati River in Tungipara of Gopalganj is having a devastating effect on public health and the environment of the region.
River salinity in the region intensifies during the dry season (October to May), which invariably leads to a significant shortage of drinking water and scarcity of water for irrigation in dry-season agriculture.
Moreover, the brackish water spreads across the whole upazila, causing an outbreak of various water borne diseases.
In recent times, the number of patients at local hospitals suffering from water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid has risen.
To combat the scarcity of potable water in Tungipara municipality, the Department of Public Health Engineering has been supplying 18,000 litres of purified water through a mobile water treatment plant every day.
Meanwhile, people of the remaining five unions with limited sources of safe water, have continued to contract water-borne diseases.
Speaking on the issue, Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer Dr Jasim Uddin said: “Saline water is toxic to humans because our body is unable to get rid of the salt. Our body normally gets rid of excess salt by having the kidneys produce urine, but we need freshwater to dilute the salt in our body for the kidneys to work properly.”
“We are telling people to refrain from drinking saltwater and instead recommending boiling the water they get from deep tube wells or ponds,” he added.