Tamil Nadu on High Alert After Increase in Dengue Cases :- The threat of dengue outbreak has gripped the state, with Chennai, Kancheepuram, and Tiruvallur recording a high number of cases. According to the official data, around 3,000 cases of dengue have been recorded this year, out of which 2,000 has been reported in the past two months alone. Five deaths have been officially reported including an 11-month old infant succumbing to the fever last week.
Tamil Nadu on High Alert
However as per the claims of the government and the health minister, they have controlled the outbreak in spite of the reported deaths. With the Northeast monsoon expected to set in on October 17, the impact of dengue is expected to increase.
The Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children located in Egmore has witnessed a huge increase in children with dengue-like symptoms. The number of patients visiting the hospital with such symptoms has increased to about 150 to 200 per day. Chennai hospitals have confirmed a total of 50 confirmed dengue cases so far. The Government Rajaji Medical College Hospital, Madurai, too, has opened a special ward for patients with symptoms of dengue fever.
In Kanchipuram district alone, 211 people have been admitted to 23 district government hospitals and public health centres. Of this, 29 people are suspected to have dengue. Other than this, blood tests have confirmed seven cases of dengue in Kanchipuram government hospital alone.
Tamil Nadu on High Alert After Increase in Dengue Cases
The local administration has been put on high alert to prevent the breeding of Aedes, the mosquito considered to be the cause of dengue fever.
The greater Chennai Corporation has recorded a 9% increase in confirmed dengue cases compared with last year. The deputy director of the state health department, Dr. Madhusoothanan, while addressing the media accepted said the corporation had 90 confirmed dengue cases, while during September 2018 the confirmed cases were 80.
Amid all this, state health minister Vijaya Bhaskar said in a meeting that the prevention of dengue’s spread was the duty of the local administration department, and the health department’s responsibility lay in only treating the affected persons. The minister’s comment exposed the lack of coordination between the departments and received widespread criticism.
According to the Federation of Government Doctors Association (FODGA), the lack of appointment of doctors and other staff in medical colleges, hospitals and primary health centres (PHC) is compounding the problems for the public.
Dr Antan Uresh Kumar of FODGA said, “The number of government doctors has remained at 18,000 from 2004, which is highly insufficient for catering to the population of the state. The state government should consider appointing enough doctors and support staff to effectively treat patients who depend on government hospitals.”
He further added, “In addition, the number of students admitted to medical colleges has increased from 1,200 in 2004 to 4,500 in the present academic year. The number of students has increased almost four-fold but the number of doctors remains the same. This increases the workload on doctors who are teaching and treating in medical colleges, resulting in severe stress. The life span of government doctors is also reducing due to stress.”
The state government has allocated Rs 12,398 crore compared with the actual spending of Rs 12,366 crore in 2018-19. This marginal increase is highly insufficient and is set to further weaken the public health system.
Meanwhile, the FODGA has announced an indefinite strike from October 25 demanding the implementation of GO 354 for pay fixation on par with central government doctors and dynamic assured career progression. The FOGDA office-bearers said that the demands are essentially aimed at preventing the doctors from undertaking private practice and concentrate more on patients in government hospitals.
Antan said, “The government should come forward to strengthen the public health system by protecting the interests of government doctors. The pay revision would cost around Rs 300 crore, which is not huge. The allocation of more funds for healthcare will encourage the doctors concentrate more on their primary duty. The government should not move away from a crucial sector, like public health, leaving the doors open for the corporates.”
He also asked the people not to believe in false reports and advised them against taking over-the-counter medication prescribed by pharmacies. He further added, “In the case of fever, consult a doctor immediately and seek immediate medical help.”