Alarm bells have been ringing on the health front. Seven persons have died of dengue fever in these past few months in the country. Currently, 4,000 people are affected by the disease. Things look ominous and there is a dark possibility that more people will fall succumb to the ailment if urgent and effective measures are not taken to roll back the situation.
Sayeed Khokon, Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), has let it be known that the aedes larvae which cause dengue were found in one out of every two homes in the city and that a drive against these mosquitoes was launched in April this year. Clearly the drive has not been much of a success, given that reports have kept coming in from the capital as also from elsewhere in the country about the rising incidence of dengue fever. According to an official of the DSCC, it is difficult to deal with the disease when citizens do not allow DSCC inspectors inside their homes to spray insecticide and do everything that is necessary to handle the outbreak of or probability of the disease breaking out. The explanation does not hold water in light of the fact that dengue is an ailment against which the populations need to be in a state of alert.
One is however fully aware of the psychology of many of our citizens, whose reluctance to let people into their homes, for whatever reasons, is pretty well known. In such circumstances, the DSCC and DNCC authorities must make it mandatory for people to allow health inspectors into their houses in the interest of the overall health of citizens. No resident of a home and no home-owner or even people who supervise such structures as shops, malls and offices must deny entry to health inspectors into their premises. It should also be the responsibility of the city corporations to send the inspectors on their rounds by giving them official identity cards as well as copies of the rules allowing them to inspect the premises they are supposed to examine and survey.
The dengue issue must be taken up on a priority basis. The 4,000 people who remain afflicted by the disease are in sure danger, or at least most of them are. Measures must be initiated by the ministry as well as hospitals and clinics to ensure that these victims of dengue are brought back to health. Additionally, a sustained drive must be launched to weed out the aedes larvae throughout the country. There cannot be any stop-gap measures here. A full-scale operation against dengue and indeed all other forms of diseases is a necessity today.