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Special drive to control chikungunya from Sept. 4

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Special Correspondent

Schoolchildren will be taught preventive measures

  • This will be part of a State-wide intensive drive
  • Main focus will be on reducing the mosquito density
  • PHCs will provide free drugs and IV fluids
  • More fogging machines sanctioned

    COIMBATORE: A special drive to bring down cases of chikungunya will be carried out for 42 days in the district from September 4. The main focus will be on preventing the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the disease-causing alpha virus.

    Meeting

    The Deputy Director of Health Services, R.T. Porkai Pandian, told The Hindu on Wednesday that this would be part of a State-wide intensive drive following a decision taken at a health officials' meeting held in Chennai on Monday and Tuesday.

    Breeding ground

    Medical officers and staff of the Department of Public Health and the local bodies and also anganwadi workers would be involved in the drive, Dr. Pandian said. "The main focus is source reduction - eliminating stagnation or unsafe storage of fresh water as this is a breeding ground for the mosquitoes," he said.

    The bulk of the work would be distribution of anti-larval solution (temophos). When mixed in water, it killed the mosquito larvae. During his visit to Coimbatore two weeks ago, the Minister for Health and Family Welfare said that the main focus would be on reducing the mosquito density. As chikungunya was not a fatal disease, a major thrust would be given to mosquito elimination even as treatment was provided to the patients.

    Mosquito elimination

    The health department would work closely with the local bodies such as the Coimbatore Corporation that had more fogging machines. "We will hold discussions with the City Health Officer (of the Corporation) on the preventive measures," Dr. Pandian said.

    The Government had agreed to supply more fogging machines for the rest of the district. "Each of the 21 blocks in the district will have a fogging machine and the orders are expected any moment from the Government," he said.

    Students' role

    Schoolstudents would be involved in large numbers to take home the message of prevention through proper sanitation. The use of anti-larval solution would be demonstrated to them (mostly up to Standard X).

    These students would naturally be endowed with the spirit of learning through these measures.

    Thus, they would be able to take the message of safe storage of water at home effectively. The health department would co-ordinate with the education officials in the district on this.

    Though he said cases appeared to have come down over the last couple of days, Dr. Pandian regretted that the response to the campaign for prevention was better in the rural areas.

    Awareness campaign

    Non-Government Organisations would be involved in each of the blocks to spread awareness on the disease and what caused it. Announcements through public address system mounted on vehicles that would cover these areas. A meeting of medical officers would be held on Saturday and Sunday to discuss the measures to be carried out during the drive.

    Treatment

    Dr. Pandian said people should go to the primary health centres (PHCs) if they did not have the money to meet the cost of treatment in private hospitals or clinics. "We provide free drugs and IV fluids."

    Prevention

    On why many cases were not being reported in bigger Government hospitals such as the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, he said one of the reasons could be the local camps at the PHCs to treat the affected. "We are already into a door-to-door drive for control and prevention," Dr. Pandian said.

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