AN INCREASE in the number of dengue patients this year, compared with the number of patients in the past year, is disconcerting. A total of 2,100 dengue patients were sent to hospital while two of them died. Dhaka’s south mayor on Tuesday admitted that dengue prevalence was higher this year. But his observation that the effectiveness of the corporation’s pesticide used in controlling mosquito lessened in recent times is unacceptable. He forgets that the failure of the city authorities to contain mosquito menace results from the lack of accountability in local government institutions. Most of the people in the capital complained that both the city corporations were indifferent to addressing this issue.
Dengue infection is more common in July–August when the environment is more suitable for the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes, the carrier of the dengue vector. Clear and stagnant water even in small containers left unattended during sporadic rainfall provides for the ideal breeding ground for Aedes mosquito, which has a lifespan of about a month, allowing the infection to occur even after a month of intermittent rainfall. The city corporations, however, failed miserably to launch any widespread campaign to make people aware of how to better protect themselves from dengue by destroying the breeding ground of the mosquito. There are many areas in the city where city corporations have allegedly not been spraying insecticides for years, which should have been a regular practice. What needs to be pointed out is that the evident lack of planning, implementation and monitoring with regard to mosquito control operations by city corporations is largely attributable to the indifference of the local government institutions to public interest and public health. Indifference to mosquito menace may sometimes prove to be dalliance with danger. The mayor’s admission of the ineffectiveness of the corporation’s pesticide is ironical in that allegations are rife that with complicity of the corrupt city corporation officials, traders tasked to do the job usually supply adulterated pesticides to corporations, resulting in the failure of the anti-mosquito drives, if any at all, every year.
The government must, therefore, immediately launch a widespread awareness campaign of prevention of the disease. It must also instruct the city corporations to effectively control mosquito on different locations, in an optimum way, to destroy the breeding of the Aedes mosquito.
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