Friday, October 24, 2008

Mosquitoes can play spoilsport for Commonwealth Games

Mosquitoes can play spoilsport for Commonwealth GamesWhat about an advisory on vaccination for dengue going along with promos for the 2010 Commonwealth Games This may be a reality if the current state of 'cleanliness' continues, say health workers.

As it prepares to host the 2010 sporting extravaganza, mosquitoes have shown great potential to play spoilsport with latest health reports showing an increase in the number of dengue cases every passing year.

There have been 723 cases reported in the city with the figures showing a steady upward climb and officials trading the blame over responsibility of garbage disposal and maintenance of clean surroundings.

"We are trying hard for timely completion of all the Commonwealth Games projects taken by MCD. Among other issues, improving sanitation levels, social waste management system and improving garbage disposal are of priorities," says K S Mehra, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

While citizens feel there is a "sure dearth" of facilities in the national capital, authorities say participation and cooperation is required from the people in maintaining filth-free surroundings.
"We want an equal participation and cooperation from the people as well. Our counselors interact with people in public places for instance during morning walks, and other places too to make them aware of the prevailing condition," says Mehra.

In May, Delhi government had accelerated an awareness drive in which television, radio; newspapers and other mediums were used to disseminate information to ensure cleanliness in public places, roadsides and households.

Accumulation of garbage and filth is compounded by apathy of citizens who do not use the waste bins provided to dispose off waste and simply throw it wherever they feel, say officials. "By and large, we do not take personal pride in keeping the city clean. Apart from that, there is no systematic approach for garbage collection and its dumping. It might be in some areas of Delhi, but people hardly are aware of it. In general, it is lacking," says Dr S K Dham, a senior doctor at Umkal healthcare, Gurgaon, a suburb in the national capital region.

Dengue cases are found to be maximum during the months of September and October, according to available reports. "In 2006, dengue was more like an epidemic. Last year, the cases were fewer. This year, the cases are fewer as compared to 2006 but are more than 2007," says Dr Bir Singh, a senior doctor at AIIMS.

Singh points out that the density of mosquitoes this year is greater compared to last year because they had environmental conditions that were quite favorable for breeding this year thus influencing the extremity of dengue this season.

"The cases might continue to rise for another two weeks, but after that around the Deewali season, they are expected to decline," Singh says.

According to a seven-country survey by the Hygiene Council, a global initiative aimed at bringing together experts in microbiology, virology, infectious diseases, immunology and public health, Indian homes are the dirtiest in the world.

The cleanest are found in Saudi Arabia, said the Council, and headed by Dr John Oxford, virology professor at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. The survey was conducted in UK, US, Germany, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and India.

"Proactive actions should be taken by all of us. The civic facilities and public awareness are the need of the hour. Water and garbage collection along the roadside, lack of proper sewage system, all these factors constitute to unhealthy conditions in the city resulting to diseases like dengue," Singh says.