Are we ready for another epidemic?
There is a popular proverb in Bengali language: "hati ghora gelo tol, mosha bole koto jol". It is clear that honourable Bengali scholars underestimated the supremacy of this tiny creature. However, we are already aware of the power of this lethal insect. In last few weeks, every day hundreds of people were infected with Dengue virus around the world.
Additionally, every year more than seven lakh innocent people get killed in different mosquito-borne diseases worldwide. In the last couple of years, we had to bear the brunt of different mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya etc. Aedes Aegypti, the tropical mosquito which is a part of the Aedes species, has created health disaster for the public capitalizing sheer negligence of the concerned authority and the citizenry.
Not only that, Dengue outbreak, which is the outcome of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito menace, has added to the woes of the common people after Coronavirus pandemic throughout the country. However, like Bangladesh, our neighbouring countries too are not performing well in case of controlling Dengue outbreak. In spite of large economy and skilled administration, our neighbouring countries (India, Pakistan etc) miserably failed to contain mosquito-borne diseases. Dengue becomes another epidemic in those countries after Covid-19. Highest number of Dengue case has been recorded in Delhi in the last 6 years.
Dengue fever shook major Pakistani cities such as Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi etc. Total Dengue cases tops 25000 in Pakistan. However, failure of our neighbouring countries is a great teaching for us. The situation is so grave that government has planned to create six hospitals only for Dengue patients. Researchers assuming that the overall Dengue situation will worsen as most people being infected by Serotype-3, a deadly variant of Dengue virus, which can create a deadly scenario this year like 2019.
Hamlet, the world famous character of Shakespearean tragedy, once said, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Similarly, very few of us know that global warming, rapid urbanization, industrialization etc not only destroy human civilization, but also help the mosquitoes in multiplying their numbers.
Climate experts found a strong link between outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases and climate change. Bangladesh has been facing terrible effects of mosquito-borne epidemics for the last couple of years. Nowadays, summers are getting hotter and longer and winters are becoming warmer, which is quite unnatural in this temperate zone, as Bangladesh is known for its six seasons.
Moreover, this type of environment is suitable for the quick breeding of mosquitoes. It is very interesting that our countrymen are conscious about their rights but they seems quite reluctant to perform their duties to the society. Therefore, a lot of water bodies, which are full of filthy water, existin the capital city. Nowadays clean freshwater is not available in many places of our country.
General people do not care about the hygiene of their own neighbourhood. Broken water buckets, pots, cans, refrigerator trays, flower vases full of water is a common picture in every household. As a result, mosquitoes started to breed drastically. At the same time, the concerned authority should be more active, as the worsening overall situation directs their underperformance.
Reportedly, Dengue outbreak took more than one hundred lives around our country this year until now. The tragic incident mostly happened in those places, where both people and concerned authority displayed an oblivious attitude to mosquito breeding habitat. On average 200 patients being hospitalized every day. However, it seems that authority concerned is more interested in talking nonsense and using fogger machine to kill mosquitoes, though WHO experts highly recommended that administration should focus on exterminating larvae.
Legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who energized his fellow countrymen through hard times in World War II, said, "The price of greatness is responsibility." Hopefully, everyone will understand the essence of the saying and act accordingly. Last but not least, urgent actions are needed to be taken by the government to resolve the burning issue.
Bidit Chowdhury is a freelance columnist and former
of The Daily Observer