KARACHI - Most of the citys fishermen are suffering from multiple diseases, mainly respiratory and skin problems, owing to unhygienic conditions along the coastal belt and a lack of basic medical facilities, TheNation has learnt. A recent survey of these areas shows that the affected people, mostly fishermen, who complain of respiratory and skin problems as common diseases, are the residents of those villages where basic healthcare facilities are not available. The survey also shows that the maternal mortality and morbidity rates are also high among fishermens families and deaths from preventable diseases are common. The healthcare issues and deaths, more painfully, go unnoticed and unreported, mainly due to successive governments apathy towards the plight of the poor lot. There are as many as 1,200 villages along the coastal belt stretching from Mubarak Village in the Keamari Town up to Lath Basti in the Bin Qasim Town. Each village, comprising small huts, has a population of around 2,000 to 5,000. Although nearly all of these are decades-old villages, the authorities concerned are yet to come up with a comprehensive plan that could provide the fishermen population with proper health and education facilities or even ensure electrification of the villages. Many of the villagers interviewed said that a good number of expecting mothers die before reaching a hospital as they had to be taken to a healthcare facility located far away from their villages. They pointed out that more deaths occurred from viral and other such diseases round the year and if the authorities concerned continued to ignore the villagers healthcare requirement, the mortality rate would continue to go up. It is observed that the deaths from viral diseases occur mostly after heavy rainfall and with the metropolis registering a upward graph of rainfall for the past few years, there has been growing concern among the coastal area population regarding the toll. Inadequate transport facilities between the fishermen villages and the urban areas of the city are also seen a major factor behind the avoidable deaths. Most villagers cannot afford the travel expenses involved in taking their ailing family members to a major hospital, as all such healthcare facilities are located far away from their villages. Since we are among the groups falling in the category of lowest income groups, we cannot avail the expensive treatment available at major healthcare facilities, they lamented and added, We cannot also benefit from the education facilities available in the urban areas. There are three dispensaries meant for the residents of Hussaini Goth, Mubarak Village and Deh Allah Bano but all of them have been lying closed for years. The Mubarak Village dispensary was established about 10 years ago but the Provincial Health Department could not appoint a doctor or paramedic for the facility till date. The villagers, therefore, have to take a patient to the nearest hospital that is located in Mauripur area, some 30 kilometres away from Mubarak Village.