Amid dengue scare, anti-malaria office cries staff-shortage - Hindustan Times
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Amid dengue scare, anti-malaria office cries staff-shortage

Hindustan Times | By, Chandigarh
Sep 26, 2016 04:01 PM IST

As the city fights the vector-borne diseases — dengue and chikungunya — the anti-malaria office is fighting the extreme staff shortage. Functioning with only one entomologist and one technical expert, and no regular assistant director (malaria), for the last one year, the department is finding it difficult to manage work, especially when mosquito-borne diseases are on the rise.

As the city fights the vector-borne diseases — dengue and chikungunya — the anti-malaria office is fighting the extreme staff shortage. Functioning with only one entomologist and one technical expert, and no regular assistant director (malaria), for the last one year, the department is finding it difficult to manage work, especially when mosquito-borne diseases are on the rise.

“The posts were sanctioned more than a decade ago. Even if all of them are filled, they certainly are not enough considering today’s population,” said an officer from the anti-malaria office of Chandigarh health department.(Representative image)
“The posts were sanctioned more than a decade ago. Even if all of them are filled, they certainly are not enough considering today’s population,” said an officer from the anti-malaria office of Chandigarh health department.(Representative image)

“The posts were sanctioned more than a decade ago. Even if all of them are filled, they certainly are not enough considering today’s population,” said an officer from the anti-malaria office of Chandigarh health department.

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To begin with, the post of assistant director (malaria) is with Dr Deepak Bakshi as an additional charge for the past one year.

The post of anti-malaria officer is with Dr Gaurav Aggarwal, who is serving on contract basis. The doctor is single-handedly running the department. Lately, he courted controversy for allegedly hiding the correct dengue and chikungunya patient figures.

“It was a slip on our part and not intentional. We were in the process of confirming the suspected cases, and when all of them got confirmed, we released the true figrues,” said Dr health director Vanita Gupta.

A health official said there was only one sanctioned post each of entomologist (a person who study insects) and technical expert. Ideally there should be 4-5 such officials, he said.

“The job of entomologist is to keep a track on the identification of species of mosquito, to check new species, its breeding sites, etc. Under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, we don’t have any entomologist but under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, we have one.”

“Ideally, looking at the speed the city has grown, we should have 5-6 entomologists,” he said.

The officer said ,”For a population of 15 lakh , there is only one sanctioned post of technical expert. There should be at least 3-4.”

The role of the technical expert is to do case identification, case resistance, epidemiological surveillance, death audits, identify source of infections, to name a few. “Right now, only one person is managing with the help of students, but we need more. Ideally, there should be three to four technical experts to whom areas are divided,” said the officer.

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