The AAP government has gone back on its promise of setting up additional infrastructure to deal with the rising number of dengue cases even as the count has touched an alarming 831.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had announced 50 free dengue and malaria testing centres across the Capital for early detection of the deadly infection.
Thirty-four of the 50 centres have already been set up across hospitals and the others will start functioning by August 15, the minister had said.
But when asked about the status of the remaining testing centres, he said, pointed to the existing ones some of which are run by the Centre: “I was speaking not just about the 34 labs that we have, there are also labs run by the central government and the MCD which are equipped to test dengue cases. In fact, there are more than 50.”
Meanwhile, Delhi government officials said 34 labs have been put on alert this year just like every year.
He said they had been provided testing kits and manpower to deal with the rising number of cases.
There are 39 other mother labs and those run by the Delhi government along with its dispensaries, which can be geared up to do tests for platelet count if the need arises, said the official.
“These labs do not have Elisa kits but they can do a test for platelet count in case there is an increase in the number of patients,” the official said.
Delhi government hospitals such as Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and Chaha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya maintain special wards for dengue every year. “We have earmarked 30 beds for dengue patients and have deployed 2 lab attendants and 2 medical officers for dengue management. We were prepared since July, and this happens every year,” said Dr Savita Babbar, medical superintendant at Deen Dayal Upadyay Hospital.
On the additional measures in place this year, the health minister mentioned making free diagnostic available, putting hospitals on high alert, and banning over-the-counter sale of blood thinning drugs such as aspirin and brufen.
But the ban has also not had much of an impact.
HT earlier reported that aspirin in the form of disprins and combiflam was readily sold without a prescription. “We have sent out advisories, however, the enforcement is not our job,” said a Delhi government official.
Jain, however, advised against rushing to the testing centres out of panic. “Awareness is the key when it comes to combating dengue. Platelet count is not that important. People should not panic and run to get a test done. It is important that they are aware and they follow their doctor’s advice,” he said.