Chikungunya, dengue cases reach fever pitch

Updated - November 01, 2016 06:27 pm IST

Published - September 14, 2016 12:00 am IST - NEW DELHI

Politicians play passing the buck even as four more deaths due to vector-borne diseases trigger panic among residents.

It was an Eid celebration cut short for Motisham Khan on Tuesday evening. On his way up in the elevator to the fever clinic on the sixth floor of the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital, Mr. Khan was holding on to his wife who had high fever and was trembling with body pain.

“We were dressed up to celebrate Eid with our family but my wife, who has had fever for three days, took a turn for the worse today and we have had to come to the hospital instead,” he said.

The fever clinic at LNJP seems to be well prepared for the chikungunya “outbreak” with enough beds and supplies. The doctor on duty, Dr. Vikas, informed that there is a viral infection doing the rounds in the city, which also causes body pain and high fever for about seven days so not all cases that present the same symptoms are confirmed as chikunguniya.

Neelama, a resident of Pandara Road, who has been diagnosed with chikungunya, said she had to go to a private hospital earlier this week after she felt that the government hospital was too crowded and that the jostling for space and time with a medical staff was exhausting her.

“The government hospital has so many patients in the morning OPD that it is impossible for a person who is running fever to endure the strain of reaching doctors. Sadly the private hospitals are no better. They are crowded and the cost is killing. The government has to step in to ensure that poor is not exploited in this situation,” she added.

Commenting on the pressure caused by the rise of fever cases being reported, Dr. Vijay Kumar, RDA head at AIIMS, said there was staff shortage at AIIMS that is hitting them hard.

“The patient load has gone up several times since August and on any given day you will find the out patients departments full of people. The Central government has to work on getting more staff to ensure that patient care does not suffer. Currently medical staff does not even have the luxury to fall ill,” Dr Kumar said.

Senior doctors from Hindu Rao Hospital said there had been no regular resident post in north MCD for the past three years now. “We can’t run hospitals -- especially when there is a crisis like this -- without adequate staff and manpower. Dispensaries and mohalla clinics are a welcome addition but the hospital system has to be strong enough to withstand crisis,” a doctor said.

Doctors from Kalawati Saran Hospital admit that the patient load has taken a toll on the healthcare system. “Every day we have at least three to seven cases of dengue or chikungunya. The numbers may be more than what is being shown. There is a sense of panic among people and laboratories and private doctors are making use of this.”

Close coordination

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister J P Nadda on Tuesday stressed the need for close coordination between the Centre and states to deal with the outbreak of chikungunya and dengue, which have affected about 40,000 people in the country, even as he said there was no need to panic.

He assured all help to states in fighting the spread of vector-borne diseases and said it should not be an issue for indulging in blame game.

“We will try to fulfil all requirements. Whether it is dengue or chikungunya, we should not panic. There is a need to give symptomatic treatment. There is a need to take a lot of liquid,” Mr Nadda said.

“This is not an issue for the Centre and states to indulge in a blame-game. We should work together,” he said.

Mr Nadda said his Ministry had recently held a meeting with the Delhi Health Minister and various municipal agencies and directed them to follow all protocols while various other issues like providing guidelines, arrangemet of beds, training of doctors have been provided.

He said the Ministry has also put a cap on rates charged by various testing facilities for the diseases while all technical support has been provided to the states to deal with the situation.

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