Delhi Health Minister A. K. Walia has his hands full with the sudden increase in the number of dengue and malaria cases in the city. In an interview with Bindu Shajan Perappadan here he reveals how well the city hospitals are prepared to handle the large number of patients, many of them from the neighbouring States...

How is the city coping with the current onslaught of dengue and malaria?

This is not the first time that the city has registered so many cases of dengue and malaria. However, we want to assure Delhiites that there is no need to panic. Since the rains came in late this year, September-October has seen a surge in malaria and dengue cases. Because the conditions are conducive to mosquitoes breeding we are likely to see more cases till the end of this month. But November onwards we are expecting a sharp fall in the number of cases. We also have to take into account the fact that a large number of patients who come to the city are from the neighbouring States and are putting additional burden on the health services.

Are the government hospitals prepared for taking care of the large number of dengue cases we are seeing this month alone?

We are in touch with the hospital authorities to ensure that there are enough beds, adequate testing kits and blood to take care of dengue patients. What is absolutely essential is to ensure that people from the lower economic strata have access to timely testing and hospital facility. We have also spoken to private hospitals and nursing homes asking them to immediately confirm dengue cases and inform the civic body concerned about them. The blood banks are ready to prevent any form of shortage of blood for treatment of dengue cases. The city hospitals are well equipped to tackle the condition. We have directed hospitals to add temporary beds to enable them to accommodate the large number of patients who are coming to us.

What are the instructions given to the civic bodies to tackle the situation?

The State health department has directed the civic bodies to start more aggressive fogging and door-to-door checking to net the rise in the number of dengue cases. However, there have been some shortcomings on the part of the civic bodies which have resulted in a rise in the number of dengue and malaria cases. We have now directed them to remove malba and challan those institutions, offices and residences where breeding is found.

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