After the deluge come the diseases. Those Delhiites who waded through the knee-deep floodwaters of the Yamuna, now face the threat of water and vector-borne diseases.
Two of north Delhi’s prominent hospitals, MCD’s Hindu Rao and St. Stephen’s, have seen a rise in the number of cases of water-borne diseases such as gastroenteritis, typhoid, jaundice, cholera etc over the last week. “For the past few days, the number of people complaining of gastric disorders and related symptoms has doubled to 20-25 a day. Half of these are from areas near the river,” said a St. Stephen’s hospital doctor.
The situation is no different at Hindu Rao hospital. “This year, the situation is worse due to the abnormal monsoon. Not just water-borne disease cases, we are also getting dengue and malaria cases,” said Dr P.P. Singh, MS, Hindu Rao Hospital.
“Considering the filthy water the area is submerged in, this is not surprising. Every child is suffering from diarrhoea. The government is doing nothing about it,” said a resident of a colony near Majnu Ka Tila.
The MCD’s public health committee claims they have deployed vans with a pharmacist each to distribute free medicines in these areas as they anticipated that people would fall prey to these diseases. “Our department got active the moment these colonies started flooding. We have identified six areas across the city where our pharmacists are visiting to distribute generic medicines for routine medical conditions such as fever, cold and cough, stomach infection and even eye-flu,” said Dr V.K. Monga, chairman, public health committee, MCD.
Experts from the Delhi government and MCD’s health departments fear dengue and malaria cases will rise once the water starts receding. “The water is flowing now, but when it starts stagnating, dengue and malaria cases will rise. We are helping the civic agency in a fumigation drive in the flooded areas, and helping them take other preventive measures to check the diseases,” said Kiran Walia, Delhi health minister. Delhi health department has set up six vans in and around the various affected areas.
The Nizamuddin MCD councillor, Farhad Suri, on Tuesday wrote to Union health minister and Delhi L-G, Delhi health minister and MCD commissioner asking them to explore the possibility of eliminating dengue using biological control tools such as Mesocyclops. Mesocyclops are a form of fish helpful in mosquito control.