The government is set to adopt a year-round strategy to combat mosquito-borne virus dengue after the worst outbreak hit the country this year.
Experts are of the view that dengue is an ongoing problem and seasonal steps will no longer be effective in combating it.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said that in addition to the formulation of a 365-day national strategy, the scope of a technical committee formed at the beginning of the year will be extended.
Dengue had remained Dhaka-centred till now but this year its carrier Aedes mosquitoes spread throughout the country infecting people outside the capital as well.
DGHS Disease Control Branch Director Dr Sania Tahmina said that work for the national strategy to control dengue will begin in September.
“More work will be done to see if the national guideline for doctors for the treatment of dengue patients formulated last October can be improved based on the experiences of this year,” she said.
She added that more training will be arranged to treat dengue and treatment for children has already been separated.
Tahmina said that another survey will be carried out in October to find out why the disease has spread outside Dhaka.
“Also, regular contact with the city corporations has to be maintained for protection based on the surveys carried out by DGHS,” she added.
Saying that the DGHS carried out three surveys, she added, “One of them was a special survey. A plan will be adopted to carry it out throughout the country.”
She said that the dengue situation calls for more research to identify the patterns that have been significantly different this year.
Meanwhile, Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) chief Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora told Bangla Tribune that the number of patients is still a lot more than any other year, despite the decline in people being diagnosed with dengue.
“But we are hoping that the number won’t go up. We have to keep our control measures ongoing all 365 days,” she said.
Meanwhile, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) researcher Atik Ahsan is of the view that a long-term plan is imperative to combat dengue.
“Dengue is no longer an epidemic, it’s an endemic now. IEDCR has said that people are being infected all year round,” he told Bangla Tribune.
Hassan recommended an effective integrated surveillance system so that the government can have a list of people contracting the disease.
He said that a call centre or hotline can be set up in the hospitals and diagnostic centres across the country and under the system, the DGHS can be informed immediately after testing positive for NS1.
“Dengue can be controlled through an integrated surveillance system that includes everyone,” he said.
He added that it must be identified where the mosquitoes are most and ensure anti-mosquito drives be carried out wherever people are being infected.