Capital's real dengue figures buried under red tape
Red tape is causing dengue cases to go unreported in large numbers in the capital. Rhythma Kaul reports.delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2010 00:12 IST
Red tape is causing dengue cases to go unreported in large numbers in the capital.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the civic agency responsible for registering dengue cases, still relies on the age-old fax machine to receive confirmed dengue reports.
A hospital or a clinic is supposed to fax the figures along with the test report to the MCD if it gets a confirmed case of dengue, and on the basis of the fax report the MCD's health department registers the case and updates the list.
Bigger hospitals that have a dedicated administrative department with sufficient staff manage to compile and submit the data on time but hospitals with smaller set-up find this daily process quite unmanageable.
"It is excessive paperwork. If we spend our time finishing the official procedure, when will we treat the patients," said the owner of a local nursing home at Jamia Nagar, who did not wish to be quoted.
"Our staff is already loaded with work and this just adds to the burden. Though we try to report all the positive cases, the civic agency could work upon an arrangement to make our work easier," said Dr Neera Sondhi, deputy medical superintendent of Jeevan Anmol Hospital at Mayur Vihar in east Delhi.
The hospital recommends about 95 per cent suspected cases to undergo dengue test, out of which three per cent turn positive each day.
However, there is no mechanism in place with the MCD to check the authenticity of figures coming from hospitals.
"We get fax from hospitals and accordingly we update the list. It's not possible for us to do policing and check each hospital individually. Providing us accurate data is entirely the hospital's responsibility," said N.K. Yadav, MCD's medical officer.
"The civic body cannot impose fine on hospitals in case of non-reporting but it can certainly file a complaint in the Court," added Yadav.
However, there are not many complaints against hospitals in this regard. "There hasn't been such a situation yet where we had to go to court against a hospital," said Yadav.
But hospitals said with the Commonwealth Games, the civic body will have more questions to answer if dengue cases are on the rise.
"Now that the health ministry has stepped in, it makes more sense for certain forces to brush the unusually rising cases under carpet," said a senior doctor at one of the prominent hospitals.