Dengue cases reported in nearly half the wards

“Dengue fever with warning signs” – thus reads the discharge summary issued by a hospital for the 10-month-old son of P. Manivasakar on September 18.

Mr. Manivasakar, a resident of Adambakkam, says he spent Rs. 45,000 for the medical care for his child. “Chennai Corporation officials visited our house and sprayed some pesticides. But the mosquito problem continues and there is barely any change in the number of mosquitoes. ”

Mr. Manivasakar has now sent his wife and child to his native village 500 km away.

The Chennai Corporation’s attempts to combat the mosquito menace are handicapped due to factors such as delay in filling vacancies in health department and the absence of proper technology to control mosquito density. The civic body, in the aftermath of a meeting of officials at the Secretariat on Friday, has again sought the intensification of mosquito control measures. Residents across the city allege that the scale of mosquito-control operations is inadequate.

Health Department officials claimed the larval density in canals and storm water drains has reduced drastically to 2 or even zero in many areas, according to the review conducted on Friday. However, residents, particularly in many added areas, have been reporting cases of dengue and malaria. About half the wards in the city have already reported dengue cases in 2012.

“When my child was admitted to the private hospital, I found many people admitted in the intensive care unit at the same time. Over 10 persons from areas such as Anna Nagar were admitted. Doctors too said that the number of dengue cases is more now,” said Mr. Manivasakar.

The Corporation’s plan to intensify mosquito control operations by inviting private companies to shoulder the responsibility is yet to take off. As many as 23 companies with experience in mosquito control submitted proposals at a meeting on September 26 at Ripon Buildings. Civic body officials said they will finalise the role of private companies in a week. Denying that there is a rise in mosquito density, Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan said the civic body “will intensify mosquito control operation.”

The effort of the Corporation to rope in councillors to improve participation of residents in mosquito control a few months ago has failed. Many overhead tanks remain open and officials have not conducted inspections in many areas because of shortage of manpower.

The Corporation’s health officials have advised people to remove tyres, unused flower pots, buckets and coconut shells from around their homes.

The challenges caused by breeding grounds in over 25,000 unoccupied plots of land, two lakh overhead tanks, 74,526 wells, 65,166 sumps and 1,300 km of stormwater drains is yet to be tackled.

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