EDITORIAL: Number of dengue patients at around 50,000

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - The number of patients soars and despite all the cries and warnings, sadly, hospitals and transport hubs remain major breeding grounds for Aedes-mosquito. 

The return home for hundreds of thousands of people from the holidays may not be a joyous one, as transport terminals have been identified as areas that are ripe for Aedes-mosquito-breeding. Despite repeated assurances about cleanups by city authorities, our reporters have found discarded tires and plastic containers littered around Mohakhali and Gabtoli bus stands. The same goes for the Tejgaon truck terminal and Kamalapur Railway station.

Sadly, many hospitals, where people are flocking to in thousands to get treatment for dengue, are a den for garbage—both inside and out. Water gathers in puddles during the rainy season and the crux of the problem is two-fold: not enough is being done by the concerned authorities to clean up these trouble spots where mosquitoes can breed and there is a general lack of awareness among the people to do what needs to be done in the vicinity of their abode.  

We are a nation of people where no one takes responsibility for their lack of action. Authorities spent a few weeks at the outset of the dengue outbreak issuing preposterous threats of taking people to task for not keeping their homes/business establishments clean. As the dengue menace grew, it was found that the city corporations had been lacking in both equipment and medicine to tackle the crisis. Now, the number of dengue patients is nearing the 50,000 mark and dengue infestation has reached every corner of Bangladesh. The worst part of this whole scenario is that we are being told that dengue is now “endemic”, which means it will be with us round the year.

Instead of making wild claims of a breakthrough in fighting the Aedes mosquito, the authorities should be taking steps to allocate financial resources to have mobile teams of people, working round the clock, in shifts, to find and eradicate these infestations in transport terminals, in and around hospitals, as people return to the city. Precisely how are hospital services to cater to hundreds, or thousands, more new dengue patients in the coming days and weeks? We need concrete plans of action and their implementation instead of empty promises as the death toll inches towards 100.


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