Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday suggested that schoolchildren may be allowed to wear full sleeves and trousers, to reduce the susceptibility to mosquito bites.
At the conclusion of a review meeting of the health situation, particularly dengue, in the southern states, Mr. Azad said children wear half sleeves and shorts to school, increasing the possibility of being bitten by mosquitoes. At least until the number of cases of dengue come down, he suggested that schools allow parents to fully-clothe their children. Education Ministers of the states could issue guidelines in this regard. Even adults can follow this advice, he said.
The Centre and the southern states were working seriously to bring down the number of dengue cases. There was no need to panic, he said, the situation was under control. The states were on the right track in handling vector-borne diseases and since the South had good health development indicators, it was an easy task. Health ministers and secretaries of the four southern states and Puducherry were present at the meeting on Friday, which involved a review of current activities.
Some of the decisions taken in the meeting included involving local bodies in cleaning and fogging and spraying activities. This will help with source reduction as it targets the larva of mosquitoes. Also, it was necessary to increase the number of staff – doctors and nurses – and for this, some flexibility to use funds under the National Rural Health Mission needs to be addressed. “We will indicate how much funds; and what purpose they will be used for," he added.