High-level public health team visits A. Vallalapatti

Villagers living in A. Vallalapatti village in Melur taluk are gripped with the fear of dengue and at the Government Primary Health Centre here long queues of men and women can be seen waiting to get medical treatment.

As a high-level public health team, led by Director of Public Health R. T. Porkai Pandian, visited the village on Monday to review the dengue control measures in Melur block, one could see people thronging the health clinics and private hospitals on the Channel Road in Melur.

The Director, along with Deputy Director of Health Services of Madurai district S. Senthilkumar; P. Kannan, Additional Director (Malaria); K. Kulandaisamy, Additional Director of Public Health, and P. Vadivelan, Joint Director of Public Health, held discussions at the A. Vallalapatti Primary Health Centre.

He enquired about the steps taken by the district health officials regarding mosquito breeding source reduction and surveillance in areas where there is prevalence of dengue. He also discussed the initiatives being implemented in various blocks.

Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Porkai Pandian said that the number of fever cases was showing a declining trend and the dengue positive cases had come down during the last few days and many had been treated and discharged. As per the Chief Minister’s decision, the Health Department has also come out with a short film on dengue awareness, which is being screened in theatres and other institutions.

Apart from this, to take awareness to the common man, street plays and songs are also being performed in places where people gather in numbers. In each block, 10 Health Department officials, 20 from local administration and 10 members from self-help groups were involved to create awareness and monitor the situation, he said.

The Health Department is now engaged in three types of activities – anti-larval, anti-adult and source reduction. These include spraying larvicides, fogging and destroying water storage containers to prevent breeding.

The Health Department is looking at three indices – house index (number of houses with larvae per 100 houses), container index (number of containers with larvae per 100 containers checked) and Breteau index (number of positive containers per 100 houses).

The first is to ascertain the extent of breeding area, the second is to assess the intensity of breeding and the third is to monitor the work of the field workers. If the Breteau index was above 50, the officials concerned were expected to scale up their anti-dengue work. An index value between 10 and 40 indicated that it was high risk but did not pose danger to public health. Dr.Porkai Pandian said that house indices in Madurai are less than 5.

“In the case of Melur, there is a decreasing trend and we have adequate stock of Intravenous Fluids and medicines, moreover we have facilities to screen for all vector borne diseases including Chikungunya, Malaria and Dengue at the Madurai Medical College and Government Rajaji Hospital. Two senior entomologists and junior entomologists have been roped in and we have a Zonal Entomological Team to monitor the situation,” Dr. Pandian added.

Later, the team visited the North Street habitations in the village and inspected the anti-dengue measures undertaken by the department. During their interaction with the villagers, the officials asked the villagers not to store water in the open as fresh water is also a breeding source for mosquitoes.

However, the villagers complained that it was in A.Vallalapatti that V. Maruthirajan and Sivaranjani died after their treatment for dengue failed at GRH. The village has a population of close to 13,000 and they allege that almost half the village was affected by fever in the recent past.

Their demands include separate bore well for drinking purposed and separate water source for cleaning purposes. They also want the water to be tested.

C. Periyavar, district committee member, Communist Party of India, complained that the North Street has no public toilet facility and this could be one of the major reasons for various health hazards and demanded construction of toilets.