Ludhiana, September 23
Even as the dreaded dengue fever and malaria have spread their tentacles, sanitary conditions and health facilities still continue to remain inadequate in most parts of the district.
While 258 positive cases of dengue, a mosquito-borne disease occurring in tropical and subtropical areas, has been confirmed as yet, the cases of malaria, a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans, were so far less as compared to previous years.
A visit to various parts of the district revealed a stinking picture.
Garbage continues to pile up, stagnant water breeding mosquitoes and flies, overflowing drains and bins remain a common sight in the absence of proper sanitary arrangements.
The threat of epidemic spread is looming large.
Most of the hospitals and dispensaries lack adequate arrangements to treat the fever patients and conduct requisite clinical tests to diagnose dengue fever. The facilities of platelet transfusion and separate wards for patients or special fever clinics were also not in place at all centres.
While Health Minister Balbir Singh had instructed health officials to equip Civil Hospitals with all requisite facilities to deal with the rush of dengue patients, the majority of the patients were forced to visit private clinics and hospitals.
It was evident from the fact that the total 33 active dengue patients, who were currently under hospitalisation, had been admitted to four separate private hospitals and none of the patients preferred government health centres for treatment.
As per official data, the tally of positive dengue cases has touched 258 till Saturday, of which 33 hospitalised patients were categorised as “active cases”. However, no dengue death had been reported so far. Meanwhile, 10 cases of malaria have been reported till date.
The numbers could be higher as those getting treatment at private clinics and unregistered medical practitioners may not be reported despite the fact that it was mandatory to report all dengue cases to the Health Department.
“In the absence of adequate arrangements at government health centres, we are taking treatment from a private hospital,” Navdeep Kaur said.
Several fever patients in rural and urban areas complained of inadequate facilities at government health institutions following which they preferred private treatment.
Several quacks and self-styled doctors in remote areas were also making quick bucks by attending hordes of fever patients and charging them hefty amounts.
However, the district administration has claimed that the situation was “totally under control” and it had “managed” to improve the health and sanitary conditions in the district.
A visit to various parts of the district revealed that heaps of garbage have piled up on roadsides and vacant areas while drains and garbage bins have been overflowing.
The residents were also forced to dump the garbage openly as the door-to-door garbage collection system was also not properly in place.
Personally monitoring situation: HM
“I have been reviewing the situation of vector-borne diseases post-heavy rainfall in the state on a regular basis, which is well under control. All the departments concerned have been directed to make collaborative efforts to control the spread of dengue, malaria, and chikungunya. The Local Government and Rural Development departments have been asked to ramp up cleanliness activities to safeguard public health. Besides, I am personally spearheading a weekly drive to check breeding of mosquitoes, on every Friday,” Dr Balbir Singh, Health Minister, said.
Six fresh dengue cases reported
On Saturday, six new cases of dengue were reported from the district. Five cases have been reported from urban areas which include Cycle Market on Gill road, Kakowal road, Bharti Colony and Giaspura while one from Koom Kalan, a rural area.
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