Special Correspondent

Steps to create awareness of garbage disposal

Vector index study planned

Need for waste disposal facilities stressed

KANNUR: Healthcare officials and social activists have called for steps to create more awareness on garbage disposal and public hygiene.

The focus should be on surveillance and monitoring of grassroots-level activities and establishment of facilities for waste management. This is in view of the higher rate of dengue fever cases anticipated in the region this year, according to Deputy District Medical Officer R. Ramesh. Dr. Ramesh was talking at a seminar for journalists on the ‘Total Sanitation Campaign and Comprehensive Waste Management Project' for the district here on Wednesday.

Focus on hygiene in government offices and public places in the second phase of the campaign this year will enhance public awareness, he said.

He presented details of the ‘4 Plus Campaign 2010' which conceives four strategies to fight chikungunya, dengue, leptospirosis and malaria.

There was ‘herd immunity' against chikungunya as a result of the outbreak of the fever in many parts of the district, he said. Unlike chikungunya, dengue can be fatal especially if it was ‘dengue hemorrhagic fever' or ‘dengue shock syndrome,' he said. Leptospirosis takes some time to be diagnosed, he said adding that reports of indigenous malaria, especially in Kasaragod district, was a matter of concern and so was the presence of Anopheles mosquitoes, which act as a malaria vector, Dr. Ramesh said.

The number of chikungunya cases in the district in 2009 was 79 while the number of suspected chikungunya cases was 3,246. Fourteen dengue fever cases, 222 malaria cases and 62 leptospirosis cases were reported last year.

Disease surveillance

Preventive measures and data analysis and monitoring are the major strategies being adopted by the authorities, according to Total Sanitation Group (TSG) chairman T. Gangadharan. A vector index study is also planned in the second phase. (TSG is supervising the comprehensive Waste Management Project here.)

Creating awareness, enforcement of rules and setting up of facilities were key to implementing the sanitation programme. The total per day waste being generated in the district was less than 100 tonne including six tonnes of non-biodegradable waste, Mr. Gangadharan said. The present quantity was manageable. The project envisaged segregation of waste and arrangement of facilities for keeping non-biodegradable waste for recycling. It also envisaged household biogas plants, he added.

Poverty Alleviation District Project Officer K.P. Glad said office sanitation being implemented now involved designating government offices into quality circles, weekly monitoring of the circles and grading. Similar programmes would be held in schools and anganwadis, he added.

District panchayat president K.K. Narayanan inaugurated the seminar. Additional District Magistrate P.K. Sudheer Babu presided over the function. Press Club president Dinakaran Kombilath, also spoke.