Dengue surge alarming as city corps drives prove futile
Dengue infection continues to show an upwards trend in the capital despite increasing budgetary allocations for killing mosquito and continuous efforts of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
The number of daily infection cases remained well over 200 every day in last week, according to the sources of different hospitals and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Health experts and local people blamed unawareness of people, non-cooperation of local public representatives, untimely spray of disputed larvicides and lack of cleanliness in different areas for the increase of Aedes mosquitoes and consequent spread of dengue.
According to the DGHS statement, number of
dengue patients declined at 264 in last 24 hours, which were 287 in the previous 24 hours.
In 2019, Bangladesh recorded highest number of dengue cases. More than one lakh people were infected that year while official number of deaths was 185. But, several experts claimed that the number of infections and deaths were much higher than the official figures.
According to health wings of the two city corporations, the authorities have increased allocation in mosquito eradication programme to Tk 110 crore from last year's Tk 95.25 crore. But, quality of their anti-mosquito drives declined drastically.
Taking charges in May, 2020, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam and DSCC Mayor Sheikh Fazle Nur Taposh started anti-mosquito drives and campaign to check spread of Aedes mosquito in the city. Their efforts proved fruitful as the number of dengue patients declined to 1405 that year=== against one lakh the previous year.
However, despite the authorities' efforts in first seven months of this year, 3182 people were infected with dengue and four of them died. A staggering 3080 of the infected people were in the two city corporation areas under the capital.
In July this year alone, 1,920 people were infected with dengue, which is much higher than the number for the whole year in 2020.
According to the experts, if the spread of Aedes mosquito cannot be controlled quickly, the number of dengue infections will rise alarmingly in this August.
Regarding measures regarding the spike in dengue infection, DSCC Mayor Taposh said, "Now, we are working to destroy the sources of mosquitoes to control dengue."
He said, "Old Dhaka is a densely populated area. There are lots of government housings in this area. We are working together to ensure success of the operations. If we can achieve success in the drives, the 'zero' infection can be achieved in this August."
Starting from July 26, the DNCC has been conducting its combing operation which will continue till August 7. To make the drives successful, newly assigned 10 executive magistrates along with other officials of the DNCC have been working. The teams are operating mobile courts in the city area.
The DSCC has also intensified Aedes mosquito control activities comprising newly assigned 10 executive magistrates and its other officials.
The DSCC has opened a control room. The city people were asked to call on 017099008 and 029557014 for giving information to destroy breeding grounds and sources of Aedes mosquito. Arrangements have been made to provide information on mosquito larvae in the prescribed form available on the official website of South City www.dscc.gov.bd.
The DSCC has also released ducks at Ramna Park Lake in June last year to enhance beauty and prevent mosquito breeding. In last March, some 10,000 frogs were released in a box culvert-drain. Mosquito larvae are a favourite of frogs. However, the initiatives didn't work properly.
Thousands of tilapia fish were also released to stop mosquito breeding.
Despite spraying larvicides regularly in the morning and afternoon, mosquitoes are barely under control.
Experts say main reason of not getting results is untimely spray of sub-standard larvicides and application of adulterated or substandard medicines due to corruption of a section of officials.
When talking to this correspondent, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam called upon all government and non-government organizations to stand beside the DNCC coming forward to prevent Aedes mosquito, dengue and chikungunya.
The mayor said, "It's not possible for anyone to deal with Aedes mosquitoes, dengue and chikungunya alone. But, everyone should play a responsible role from their respective positions as conscious citizens."
According to DNCC sources, despite use of larvicides imported from England at a cost of Tk 45 lakh, they are not getting much benefit. But, the authorities have to rely on it for this season.
Along with spraying the larvicide, they are working to destroy mosquitoes by intensifying cleaning up operations and making city dwellers aware.
According to DNCC Health Department, its budget for mosquito control activities in fiscal year 2021-22 was set at Tk 70 crore, which was Tk 50.50 crore in last year. Of this, Tk 30 crore was spent on mosquito repellent, Tk 1.05 crore on garbage and weed cleaning, Tk 3 crore on fogger and spray machine transport, Tk 2 crore on special programmes, Tk 12 crore on mosquito control through outsourcing and Tk 2 crore on combing operations.
The DSCC, in the last financial year, allocated Tk 35 crore for mosquito control. This year, it allocated Tk 43.75 crore for the work. Of this, Tk 39.5 crore will be spent on mosquito repellent, Tk 50 lakh for cleaning and management of water bodies and Tk 3.75 crore on transportation of foggers and spray machines.