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Dengue: officials fighting a losing battle?

P. Sridhar
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Health matters: A baby being protected by an ordinary mosquito net in the absence of the much needed insecticidal nets in Khammam. — Photo: G. N. RAO
Health matters: A baby being protected by an ordinary mosquito net in the absence of the much needed insecticidal nets in Khammam. — Photo: G. N. RAO

Although the district administration has initiated a special drive to check the incidence of vector-borne diseases in the industrial areas of Palvancha and Kothagudem divisions, mosquito menace continues to pose a grave threat to public health due to deficiencies in preventive measures to curb the menace.

The growing incidence of dengue, particularly in the industrial areas, exposed the lacunae such as dearth of mosquito nets and coordinated efforts on the part of the government departments concerned to tackle the menace.

Close on the heels of the detection of 14 dengue fever cases in the district during the last couple of days, four new cases have been reported -- one from Khammam town and three from Sulanagar in Tekulapalli mandal in Kothagudem division on Thursday, sources said. Though, several dengue deaths were reported from Kothagudem, Palvancha and other divisions in the district, the officials concerned refused to acknowledge them.

The medical and health authorities have already classified a total of 15 Primary Health Centres in the tribal sub-plan mandals as high risk areas keeping in view the past record. Mosquito repellent nets such as Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) are considered to be vital tools in the fight against vector-borne diseases. However, the government agencies concerned have failed to supply the mosquito nets to people, mainly tribals living in the areas, who are vulnerable to mosquito menace despite a requisition made by the officials of the district malaria control wing for allocation of 1.16 lakh nets over two years ago.

The district malaria wing is also facing shortage of personnel including field staff. Two assistant malaria officer posts -- one each in Khammam and Bhadrachalam -- besides the post of senior entomologist have remained vacant for a long. “We are awaiting the supply of nearly 2.60 lakh World Bank-funded mosquito nets from the agencies concerned,” said the District Malaria Officer Bikshapathi.

Medical camps

Speaking to The Hindu , he said medical camps were being organised on a regular scale with a thrust on the high risk areas to prevent as well as to treat vector-borne diseases.

“The process for recruitment of 61 MPHA posts, which could not be held due to the recent general strike, is expected to commence soon,” he said.


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