Dengue outbreak showed up government failure on health, sanitation fronts

New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) Dengue may be on the wane in the capital but patients who were victims of the deadly mosquito-borne disease that till some weeks had the capital in its vice-like grip blame medical negligence and lack of civic awareness for the post-monsoon blight every year.

The total number of dengue cases in the capital has crossed the 12,500 mark, with 32 deaths, municipal authorities admitted earlier this week.

“I was feeling a bit under the weather with high fever and vomiting and suspected dengue infection but the attending doctor at a government hospital prescribed me some general medicines and asked to visit OPD the next day. By the next morning, my condition turned critical and I was rushed to the hospital,” Mahesh Sharma, a resident of south Delhi, told IANS.

“The attending doctor did not take the matter seriously, he claims. “I had severe allergy on my palms which were symptoms of dengue,” Sharma added.

“On my fourth visit to the hospital, one of the doctors advised me to do some tests. The results came in and I was diagnosed with dengue but by then, I was severely affected with the deadly disease,” he pointed out.

Patients feel that the dengue treatment at government hospitals is mediocre when compared to private clinics. The casual attitude and callousness on the part of some doctors in government health centres – especially in the rural areas – make matters worse.

“Unlike city dwellers, we do not have access to the cutting-edge healthcare. We cannot afford to travel to urban areas for treatment or go for expensive tests. Most of the time, we leave the fate of the dengue patients to god,” narrated a farmer from a remote village in Uttar Pradesh.

People in the remote areas do not even have basic information about the symptoms of this disease.

“Every year, we have this alarming situation and the government alone cannot be expected to do everything for us. Unless we remain vigilant in our own colonies and ensure water is not collected anywhere and ensure regular spraying of insecticide is done by civic bodies, such diseases cannot be defeated,” Rachna Kucheria, a general physician practising in Delhi, told IANS here.

Last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a nationwide cleanliness campaign or Swachh Bharat Mission.
“But it should not become a mere PR exercise. The state and the people should be practical and strive together to defeat this deadly disease,” Kucheria added.

According to the statistics collected till October 17 by the areas under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, they have recorded 2,659 dengue cases — the highest in Delhi — while areas under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation have recorded 1,551 cases. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation recorded 2,638 cases. The areas under the New Delhi Municipal Council recorded 197 cases.

The official toll of dengue in the capital stood at 32, but the unofficial deaths confirmed by various hospitals stood at 85.

The first dengue-related death in the capital was recorded on August 5.

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