Ahead of dengue season, Union health minister takes stock
With monsoon at Delhi’s doorstep, union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday took a high-level meeting to review preparedness for mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya.
Delhi has reported 22 cases of dengue and 10 cases of chikungunya so far, fewer than the numbers usually reported this time of the year.
“There are very few cases of dengue and chikungunya being reported at the moment, this could be because of the delayed monsoon. The breeding of the aedes mosquito booms with the creation of breeding grounds during the rainy season,” said a municipal corporation official, on condition of anonymity.
Dengue and chikungunya are both viral diseases transmitted by aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant clean water. All vessels used to store water – including coolers, feng shui bamboo and bird baths – should be emptied and scrubbed once a week to prevent breeding.
The union health minister suggested taking community support in spreading awareness about the breeding of mosquitoes and appointing children as ‘Swastya Ambassadors’ or champions for the drive.
For the last two years, the Delhi government has been running awareness campaigns with the help of resident welfare organisations and school children. The measure was taken after a severe outbreak of dengue in 2015, which affected nearly 16,000 people and killed 60.
To raise awareness, the minister suggested that all elected representatives of the government and corporations, along with health department officials, should visit different parts of Delhi and check for breeding, especially roofs.
“When all stakeholders come out on a single day, it will send a very strong message and nudge people to check for breeding sites at their work space and neighbourhood”, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
All officials were directed to ensure that government hospitals, schools, and office building are ‘vector-free.’
The minister was informed that there was no shortage of beds, drugs and testing facilities. “People should, however, focus on symptomatic treatment such as consuming lots of fluids. People should not rush to the hospital to get admitted as soon as they get fever,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan.
The Delhi health minister and health secretary, mayors of all three corporation, chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council, union health secretary, the director general of health services, and medical superintendents of the four central government hospitals attended the meeting.
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