Tackling dengue: Dhaka-Kolkata contrasting pictures

Shahed Shafiq
Published : 01:00, Aug 09, 2019 | Updated : 09:00, Aug 09, 2019

Nurses treat patients infected with dengue at the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 2, 2019. REUTERSThe mosquito control activity of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) is being carried out by 709 worker, covering 270 square km.
The workers are having a tough time controlling 129 wards. As a result, some wards do not even see spraying of repellent once a week.
The wards do not have any allotment for mosquitoes. Also, the manpower of Kolkata City Corporation is 12 times higher.
The two city corporations claim that scarcity of manpower is the reason why Dengue cannot be controlled.
In Kolkata, each ward has 20-25 workers, whereas Dhaka has only 4-5. In such a situation, workers are often appointed on a day to day basis.
A ‘Dengue Prevention Cell’ was formed with 75 members of each ministry and a meet was held on 5 August last at DSCC. While lack of workers is deemed the main problem, the manpower structure has not been approved as yet.
Insecticide being sprayed by Mosquito fogger. PHOTO/ Sazzad HossainKOLKATA CITY CORPORATION
Bangla Tribune research shows that in Kolkata, the corporation includes one chief health official, 6 deputy health officials, one insect controller, 16 regional health controllers, 1 coordinator (health), 1 municipal surveillance officer, 264 ward medical officers, 3 entomology inspectors, 19 health inspectors, 262 monitoring persons, 90 health assistants, 186 laboratory technicians, 45 senior health workers, 280 voluntary health workers, 1,698 field workers, 1,440 communication and education workers. In total, 4,313 persons.
Now Kolkata has Dengue controlling measure throughout the year; every hospital in the city has a record of blood samples and virus. Each ward has 20-25 workers. One group is engaged in campaigning while the other goes around looking for stagnant water.
In addition, each of the 16 areas, has a rapid action team which is always ready with the right equipment and 8 to 10 persons. Their task is to reach a Dengue hit area fast and terminate Aedis mosquito larvae.
The organisation has one chief health official but there aren’t any deputy head or chief insect officials. There are 4 regional health officials. DSCC does not have health coordinator, municipal services officer, ward medical officer and entomology inspector.
There are five health inspectors but the institute does not have lab technician, voluntary health workers and assistant health workers.
In total, DNCC has 439 persons. Of this, 58 mosquito terminating workers were attached to five regions though they do not have any equipment. The areas which did not start mosquito termination are: 6,7,8,9 and 10.
There are 940 machines. Of these, 442 are hand operated, 447 are foggers and 51 wheel barrow machines. However, 208 hand operated machines, 186 foggers and 18 wheel barrow machines are inactive. Of the 940, 512 are active and decision has been taken to purchase 250 new machines.
DSCC mayor, Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, said: “Our manpower is inadequate; while city-corporation’s size has increased, manpower has remained the same. We are relying on members of the Scouts, BNCC, Fire Service and Civil Defence.
While DNCC has one chief health official, it does not have deputy health official, chief insect control official, municipal surveillance officer, ward medical officer and entomology inspector. It has four regional health officials and one coordinator. There are 28 field workers and the total number of people is 295.
With rising demand, a step has been taken to appoint 1,620 workers on master role for one month. But specialists say that only one month is inadequate to tackle the situation and round the year monitoring is essential. DNCC has 609 hand spray machines, 322 foggers and ten wheelbarrow machines. Another 258 machines will be imported.
Almost all hospitals in Dhaka are struggling to cope with the increasing flow of dengue patients, with many public hospitals accommodating patients on the floors. Photo taken on Monday, Jul 29, 2019 at Suhrwardy Medical College Hospital in capital. FOCUS BANGLAMAYOR’S STATEMENT
Mayor Atiqul Islam, says: “In a town of 11 million, there are 4,319 workers. But for 15 million people in DNCC, we have 293 persons. Manpower has to be increased; we have applied to the government for swift approval to the new manpower structure.”
Minister for local government, rural development and cooperatives, Md Tajul Islam, says: “We have already finalised the manpower organograms from two city corporations and sent them to the ministry of public administration; but there seems to be a delay.”