Mayor Taposh on 17-day foreign trip amid worsening dengue situation

A boy sits on the hospital bed as he has been hospitalised with dengue in the capital’s Mugda Medical College and Hospital on 11 July 2023.
Tanvir Ahammed

The dengue situation has been worsening across the country with deaths and about 13,000 cases of this mosquito-borne disease over the last 16 days.

Questions also arose on the programme in the capital aimed to eradicate Aedes mosquito, that spreads dengue. Residents of the city even held a rally in East Jurain which is in the jurisdiction of Dhaka South City Corporation, alleging the city authorities' negligence in mosquito eradication activities.

Various organisations and representatives of civil society want the mayors of two Dhaka city corporations to play a more effective role and lead the mosquito eradication activities from the front.

Yet, amid such a worsening situation, the mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and his family went on a 17-day trip overseas.

Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh
File photo

Dhaka South City Corporation files show the mayor will travel to UK, Spain, Demark and other Shenzhen countries from 14 July to 30 July on family and personal purposes. The mayor will personally bear the trip expenses including air fare, accommodation and other costs and the Dhaka South City Corporation will provide no funds for this trip.

Prothom Alo texted mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh through Viber regarding his foreign trip amid such a dengue situation, but he did not respond.

Dhaka south city spokesperson and public relation officer Md Abu Naser also declined to comment on the matter.

A day after the mayor travelled to foreign countries, several hundred people held a rally in East Jurain on Friday afternoon under the banner of “Amra Jurainbasi Dengue Theke Bachte Chai (We, the dwellers of Jurain, want relief from dengue menace)” protesting the negligence in mosquito eradication and demanding effective measures in prevention of dengue.

Local residents hold rally in East Jurain in Dhaka on 14 July protesting the negligence in mosquito killing activities and demanding effective measure in prevention of dengue.
Prothom Alo

At the rally, speakers alleged that dengue turns to an outbreak due to the negligence of the city corporation. They said there is at least one dengue patient in each house in Jurain and youths have become tired of donating blood. They also demanded setting up of free medical camp in the area to provide treatment.

Addressing the rally, Mizanur Rahman, a dweller of East Jurain, vented his anger at the city corporation saying the mayor went on trip to Europe amid such a dreadful situation.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services, 12,906 people were hospitalised with dengue and 42 other died of this mosquito-borne disease in Dhaka in the first 16 days of July.

Among the hospitals in the capital, the Mugda Medical College and Hospital alone saw 1,813 admissions during this period while Dhaka Medical College and Hospital and Sir Salimullah Medical College Mitford Hospital saw 698 and 634 admissions.

Several surveys of the Directorate General of Health Services’ disease control wing found the population of aedes aegypti, the mosquito that spread dengue fever, has increased in Dhaka city this year more than the last year.

Regarding the mayor’s foreign trip amid a deteriorating dengue situation, architect Iqbal Habib, who is involved in citizens' movement, told Prothom Alo, “The mayor can go on trip with his family, but we are facing a dengue outbreak now. If the mayor cannot feel the situation now, then his accomplishments fall short of the commitment.”

“People had an expectation that the mayor himself would lead the mosquito eradication drive and raise a public movement on awareness against dengue, but his trip during this crisis time is disheartening,” he added.

This report appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna