Telangana Dengue Menace: Activists Say Khammam May Witness Repeat of 2016 Horror
Telangana has recorded the maximum number of dengue cases this year. With the number of dengue cases increasing over the past few days, a two-day protest was carried at the Khammam district headquarters by several activists from CPI (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy, PDSU, Progressive Organization for Women and several other Left-leaning organisations. The protesters demanded that the government declare a 'Health emergency' in the district and address the dengue crisis on war-footing basis.
The activists allege that though the entire state is under dengue menace, the worst affected in Khammam.
The activists fear that Khammam district may witness a repeat of 2016 where at least 17 people died of dengue and several others were tested positive for the vector-borne disease.
A report by The News Minute quoted, CPI (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy leader Royala Chandrasekhar saying, “While the entire state is suffering with viral fever and dengue, the situation is worst in Khammam. So all the progressive organizations came together and demanded that the state should declare a health emergency in the district and set up health camps and provide free medicines.”
The report mentioned Chandrasekhar saying that in their survey, they have found that Khammam has identified more than 1,000 patients suffering from dengue. “Our team visited the 26 PHCs in the district, and found that there were at least 1000 patients with dengue, the number could be even higher if we take the private hospitals into count,” he claimed.
He further alleged that the government has been downplaying the crisis by not disclosing the actual number of people suffering from dengue.
These organisations that took out the protest inspected the Primary Health Clinics (PHC) in the entire Khammam district, and claimed that the hospitals are unable to accommodate the heavy influx of patients. “There are no beds available in the area hospital, there is a scare of dengue, and private clinics are exploiting the scare and fleecing money from the patients,” Chandrasekhar said.
He further blamed the inefficiency and inadequate planning of the district authorities for the present crisis. “The government authorities did not focus on sanitation or ways to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. Demanding prompt action from the government, we submitted our representation to the Health Minister Eatala Rajender,” Chandrasekhar said.
Meanwhile, District Medical Health Officer Kalavathi contradicted the allegations raised by these organisations and told TNM that that the number of dengue patients identified after the ELISA test (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) was 106, not 1,000 as claimed by the activists. The officials say they have been given clear instructions to declare a patient as dengue-positive only after the ELISA test.
“From January, 2019 till today, the count of dengue-positive patients is 106, and there has been no deaths due to dengue,” the DMHO said.
Mentioning about the efforts to prevent breeding of mosquitoes, Kalavathi said that the entire district machinery including health, panchayat raj and roads and buildings departments are coordinating to clean the premises and fumigate. “We are organising health camps in villages, fogging the villages, conducting dewatering programmes actively.”
So far, the state has reported over 4,500 cases of dengue since January.