Nobel Laureate scientist Ronald Ross lamented in his later life that he was given the Nobel Prize for his work on the transmission of malaria, research firms were set up after his name and his fame knows no bounds, but what he said to repel mosquitoes were not followed at all. Indifference of the two city corporations of Dhaka and its dwellers remind us of Ronald Ross.
Negative marking is customary in some examinations. If we follow the custom, the two city corporations of Dhaka would get -3 in fighting the mosquito outbreak and dengue fever. The authorities would get negative marks in three indices -- killing mosquitoes, disease prevention and taking measures in emergency situation because in addition to continuous deaths in dengue, the city dwellers are now worried about spread of filaria.
Many people feared the dengue outbreak would turn into an epidemic seeing its devastation in Dhaka in July, August and till the second week of September. The fear was not baseless. Many people died of dengue as the authorities of two city corporations completely failed to act. Still we are getting news of dengue deaths from Dhaka and other parts of the country. The pesticide the city corporations used was proved to be ineffective. Later, the authorities brought new medicines at the wake of criticism and started the mosquito killing activities. But this has slowed down since the third week of September. And the mosquito infestation has increased once again.
Prothom Alo reports say the city dwellers are suffering because of the mosquito infestation. People have not seen spraying of pesticides in the last 15 days. Drains have turned into breeding grounds of mosquitoes again as the cleaners are not cleaning those regularly.
Entomologists say the infestation of culex mosquito has increased though the dengue-borne aedes mosquito has decreased. Germs of filaria can be transmitted through female culex mosquitoes. The disease causes swelling of the hands and legs and frequent fever. The patient may die of it. In such a situation, repelling mosquito should be strengthened to avoid new disaster. Pesticides should be sprayed regularly rather than occasionally to kill the larvae and to prevent the vectors from breeding. No negligence in this regard is acceptable.
Besides repelling mosquitoes, initiatives need to be taken to increase public awareness. No matter whether it is dengue or filaria, necessary treatments have to be ensured to prevent deaths in these diseases.
It is a matter of hope that the Dhaka South City Corporation’s chief health officer has confirmed that a special campaign has been launched from 28 October to prevent the infestation of culex mosquito. The key objective is to make the campaign meaningful. As the culex mosquitoes increase during the winter, it must be controlled completely at any cost before the winter.
The authorities and the city dwellers must realise that repelling mosquitoes and preventing the breeding and biting of these vectors do not need any hi-tech machinery. All we need is public awareness. It needs less money to control mosquito than that the medical costs for dengue infection. It is high time we realise the fact.