Tribune News Service
Bathinda, June 23
Efforts have been made by the Health Department in Bathinda this year to counter and prevent dengue with its door-to-door awareness campaign and by multiplying the ‘gambusia’ fish that eats up the larva of dengue and other vector-borne mosquitoes.
However, staff shortage has affected the work of the department. More than 50 per cent posts of multi-purpose health workers (MPHW) are lying vacant in the district. There are 47 sub-centres in Bathinda where one post each of MPHW has been sanctioned. These workers are the backbone of the health authorities and create awareness among the people and bring to light problems related to their surroundings. Some posts of sanitary inspectors, who used to supervise these MPHWs, are also lying vacant.
Two blocks of fish hatchery carrying gambusia (size 5X4 each) has been constructed on the outskirts of the Civil Hospital for its multiplication to counter the vector-borne diseases. The gambusia are dispersed into the ponds and such spaces where water remains stagnant all day.
About 18 patients had undergone MacElisa test for dengue till date this year in Bathinda Civil Hospital and all tested negative. The authorities had begun a door-to-door campaign in all blocks of the district, including Goniana block, Rama, Rampura Phul, Talwandi Sabo, Maur, Sangat, Nathana, Bhucho and Bathinda Urban. It had covered over 60,000 houses in 50 wards of Bathinda city as part of its awareness drive.
In Bathinda, the health authorities observe every Friday as dry day. On these days, the authorities focus on spreading awareness among the public on the need to keep the surroundings clean. The authorities also try to make the people aware about the need to keep coolers or refrigerators clean.
Last year, the district had witnessed a large number of dengue cases in Punjab and the first case was registered in June which had an impact on the minds of the residents.
Last year, the health authorities focused on private hospitals to report the daily cases of dengue immediately to the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, following which the authorities could easily send the anti-larva teams to trace the dengue larva and spray medicines on it.
In June, dengue spread its wings in Goniana town of Bathinda and later spread across the district.
Above 2,017 cases were reported positive while half a dozen cases of deaths were also reported but the health department feigned ignorance about it.
Epidemiologist Dr Rajpal Singh said, “We have covered more than 60,000 houses in all blocks besides the 50 wards in the as part of our campaign. The staff shortage is there in every department and that should not be taken as an excuse. We are working hard to overcome staff shortage. The main fish hatchery is in Faridkot from where we get the supply of Gambusia fish for multiplication and then release them in ponds in villages and at other places. Not a single patient till date has reported positive for dengue but we are fighting continuously by making the people aware of the need to curb dengue by keeping their surroundings clean and observing one day in a week as dry day when they would be cleaning their coolers and other such containers where water is stored.”
Parampal Singh, a local resident, said, “The government had failed on all fronts and there is a shortage of staff in each and every government department while the private hospitals are getting a boost. The government, on the one hand, promises good governance and boost to health sector but on paper. There is nothing on the ground.”
Another local resident, Ravinder Singh, said,” Last year, dengue cases were highest in Bathinda, especially Goniana. The health department should keep a check on private hospitals and laboratories that loot the common man. Last year, the media had reported about private laboratories treating patients while many private hospitals had falsely claimed of many normal patients as those suffering from dengue.”
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