Malaria cases likely to rise, south Delhi civic staff to work on weekends
Expecting a possible rise in malaria cases in Delhi this year due to a fairly heavy monsoon, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has directed its malaria staff to work on weekends as well. This will enable officials to visit houses which are usually closed on weekdays as their owners are out for work.
SDMC mayor Narendra Chawla said despite the relatively low number of malaria cases this year, the civic agency is expecting the number cases to increase from last year due to the stronger than usual monsoon.
“The health department has been asked to made special arrangements to deal with mosquito menace including engaging the malaria staff to work on weekends, starting this month. This will enable us to visit maximum houses, including those which remain close on weekdays as their owners are out for work,” said Chawla.
SDMC, which is the nodal agency for collecting data for Delhi-NCR, said at least 43 cases of malaria have been reported across Delhi in the first 18 days of August. This takes the number of people affected by the vector-borne disease in the city so far this year to 131.
The numbers of dengue and chikungunya cases reported till August 18 this year are 69 and 41 respectively, according to SDMC figures. Last year, these numbers were much higher. There were 215 cases of malaria, 325 dengue and 194 chikungunya cases were reported till mid-August.
However, officials said they expect the numbers to spike in the next few months as the city has received heavy rainfall this monsoon.
“Also, we are focusing more on malaria cases as the Central government has put a target of 2020 to eradicate the vector-borne disease from various states and union territories,” said Dr BK Hazarika, medical health officer, SDMC.
The malaria staff will be given off on alternative weekdays, said a senior SDMC official.
During the visits, the malaria staff will create awareness among citizens about the kind of steps to be taken to prevent breeding of malaria (Anopheles) and dengue (Aedes aegypti) mosquitoes.
To control the spreading of mosquito-borne diseases, the domestic breeding checkers have arranged 2.12 crore house visitations till August 18, officials said. They have sprayed insecticides at 5.21 lakh houses.
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