This flies in the face of civic authority’s claim of just 134
Is the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) trying to downplay the dengue outbreak in the city? If Leader of the Opposition in the council M.K. Gunashekhar is to be believed, the number of confirmed cases reported in hospitals within the BBMP limits is 2,162 so far this year. The official BBMP figure of 134 pales in comparison.
During the council meeting on Tuesday, dengue was discussed at length after Monday’s meeting was derailed by the lack of time allotted to discuss it. Mr. Gunashekhar, who made a presentation of sorts, said an independent study through which data was collected from a few popular hospitals revealed that the number of dengue cases reported this year (January to July) was well over 2,000.
Giving the break-up, he said: “In Kempe Gowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), 87 cases were reported and there were four deaths.
In Victoria Hospital, 74 cases were reported. In Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital there were 233 confirmed cases and in Manipal Hospital, there were 319 positive cases. This data is inclusive of patients from outside BBMP limits but they account for only 3 per cent of the total number,” he said.
He also raised the issues of platelet shortage in city hospitals, the lack of necessary infrastructure to tackle dengue cases in BBMP-run hospitals, and the expensive treatment which the poor cannot afford. He suggested that BPL (below the poverty line) card holders be entitled to free or cheap blood, for which the BBMP should open a blood bank.
‘Prevention only cure’
Responding to this, BBMP Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda said dengue was a seasonal disease for which prevention was the only cure. Citing figures from the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) report, he said in Karnataka, 745 cases and seven deaths had been reported this year, which was below the figures of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Listing the measures being taken by the BBMP, he said a door-to-door awareness drive aiming at covering 20 lakh homes in 10 days had been started. There was a possibility of a dengue-testing laboratory being opened for BBMP in a centrally located city hospital.
Assuring the councillors unlimited supply of medicine, Mr. Gowda said: “The BBMP can make arrangements to buy platelets. The councillors can give a list of sanctioned names eligible for it to the joint commissioners and it will be taken care of.”