New Delhi, May 6 : Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has stressed on the importance of widespread awareness on prevention and control of Vector Borne Diseases (VBD), and urged that awareness drives be undertaken through active community participation of all stakeholders such as RWAs, shopkeepers’/traders’ associations while considering all the precautionary measures being taken against COVID-19. Dr Harsh Vardhan, who chaired a high-level meeting through video conferencing to review the preparedness for prevention and control of VBDs -- malaria, dengue, and chikungunya -- here on Tuesday, said the main focus should be on controlling the vector itself by keeping the surroundings clean and free from Aedes mosquitoes. Stagnant water should be checked and larva sites effectively neutralised.
"Success of the Vector Control Programme is related to community participation and ownership," he underlined. Noting that VBD problem was a perennial one and this year it has come at the time when the whole country is grappling with the COVID outbreak, he further stated that compared to a severe outbreak of dengue in Delhi in 2015, which affected nearly 16,000 people and killed 60, "we are in a better position as around 50 dengue cases have been reported so far in the city." But, he warned that we cannot afford to be complacent in our approach in the fight against dengue.
Calling for collective efforts from all three tiers of governance - Central Government and its agencies at national level, State Governments at state level and local bodies at grass root level - through convergence in their efforts to mobilise the community for this public health activity, he referred to the commendeable role played by school children in previous years in creating awareness about VBDs and checking its spread. Urging all citizens to don the role of a super hero themselves and become 'Swasthya Veer' themselves, he suggested that during Lockdown 3.0, he said he role of the citizen had become important in volunteering for checking the breeding sites herself/himself in her/his surroundings, especially in COVID-19 situation, where the breeding checkers were not allowed by the residents to enter the premises thereby affecting the whole process.
Health Joint Secretary Rekha Shukla, who gave a presentation on the situation of dengue, chikungunya and malaria in Delhi, informed that dengue (Category–I) cases start in July, spike in October and ebb in November and December. She suggested that an action plan for inter-sectoral coordination was required, involving the State Government, Municipal Corporations, Central and State Government hospitals, Railways and the Cantonment Board.
Speaking about malaria cases, Dr Harsh Vardhan suggested that it should be made a notifiable disease to which Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain assured that this would be done immediately. It was also suggested that all hospitals, including private ones, should work in synergy for VBDs to ensure that the Government and private interventions and efforts to prevent/cure these diseases, were in tandem. Dr Vardhan asked representatives from the Central government hospitals to not neglect the cases of VBDs as there was no vaccine available and only through preventive measures, the fight could be fought successfully.
The government, he said, is "duty bound to provide all logistical and technical support to the Delhi Government in terms of surveillance and diagnostic kits to strengthen their preparations. Also, protocol for training of doctors and paramedics can be shared with the Delhi government, if required." Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal assured that the highest priority was being given to prevention and control of these diseases in Delhi, and all efforts were being made in this direction.
MoS for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, DGHS, Government of India; Chairman, NDMC; All Commissioners of three Municipal Corporations of Delhi; Health Secretary, GNCTD; DMs of all Delhi districts, Heads/Medical Superintendents of the Central Government and State Government hospitals in Delhi; Senior officials from Union Health Ministry and National Vector Borne Diseases Programme (NVBDCP); Senior officials from the Government of NCT of Delhi and representatives of Municipal Corporations of Delhi and other officials were present, an official release here said. (UNI)