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MPs wonder why govt is letting dengue spread

Lawmakers today lambasted the government for not being serious about preventing the spread of dengue and demanded a concrete action plan to prevent the disease from spreading. They also demanded that the Parliament be briefed about the disease prevention programmes.

Lawmaker Pushpa Bhusal of Nepali Congress sought attention of Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara and demanded that the government come up with a plan to prevent dengue. She wondered why the government was not serious about such public health issues?

Another lawmaker Dila Sangraula of Nepali Congress criticised the government for being “unsuccessful” in preventing dengue spread.

Lawmakers showed their concern as the number of dengue cases had risen in 56 districts across the country. According to the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, 3,890 patients have tested positive for dengue since July 17 and six of them have died.

As many as 254 people are suffering from dengue in Kathmandu,  32 in Lalitpur, 33 in Bhaktapur and a whopping 1,036 dengue cases have been reported in Chitwan.

Most local levels have not taken any initiative to prevent the disease from spreading.

“Ward office has not formulated any plan to prevent dengue from spreading,” said Mohan Bahadur Bista, chairperson of Ward No 4 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

“We don’t have any particular programme for dengue prevention. It will take some time to mobilise our volunteers for community awareness programmes,” said Dala Bahadur Karki, ward chairperson of KMC-28.

“Nothing has been done till now to prevent dengue outbreak,” said Bharat Lal Shrestha, ward chairperson of KMC-1.

Ward officials say they lack budget and manpower to do the needful.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City, however, claims that programmes to prevent the disease from spreading have been conducted in some of its wards. “Mass awareness programmes are being conducted in all the 32 wards of Kathmandu,” said Narendra Bilas Bajracharya, director of Health Division at Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

“Local bodies should deploy their volunteers on door-to-door campaigns to make people aware about the spread and prevention of dengue,” said Anup Bastola, spokesperson and consultant tropical medicine physician at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.

“There is difficulty in co-ordinating with local bodies as we don’t have the right to direct them since the country has a three-tier government system. Information about dengue has also not been reported from local levels,” said Bibek Kumar Lal, EDCD director.

Local bodies should actively run programmes and awareness campaigns in schools and the community to help spread information about dengue prevention. If they need any technical help and support we are there to provide them,” said Lal.

Dengue virus is transmitted to humans when female aedes aegypti mosquito bites a person. It is highly likely to bite early in the morning or before dusk.

Symptoms of dengue include high fever, severe headache, pain behind eyes, pain in muscles and bones, rashes and back pain.

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