THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the health department focusing all its attention on Covid-19 during the last year, many hygiene and health related campaigns took a hit. Mosquito-control activities in the state capital was one of them, and the oversight has jeopardised the health of city dwellers now. Last year, the civic body pulled many contingent workers and other health staff engaged in mosquito eradication activities, derailing core activities crucial for keeping communicable diseases under control. The District Medical Office (DMO) has also pulled up the corporation for ineffective waste management.
According to a senior official of the District Medical Office, lack of scientific waste management and piling plastic waste has been major issues since the pandemic outbreak. “Drains are not being cleaned regularly, and this is a primary reason for the growth of mosquitoes. We have given a letter to the corporation urging them to take immediate measures to curb outbreak of diseases like dengue, chikungunya in the coming weeks,” said the official.
The official alleged that despite having enough staff, the civic authorities are not executing their primary responsibilities. “The civic body has more than enough health workers and staff for undertaking sanitation-related activities. Unfortunately, nothing is happening on the ground. We have not involved them in Covid-19 activities which we are handling with limited resources,” said the official.
Too much on their plate
According to civic authorities, they are struggling with multiple responsibilities and it is impossible to initiate cleaning activities on a full swing. An official of the corporation health wing said that there are around 40 mosquito eradication workers under the corporation. “In my circle, two dedicated eradication workers were pulled from their responsibilities when the pandemic outbreak happened. These daily workers are being used for handling Covid-19 deaths and disinfection drives. They still haven’t been reassigned to sanitation duty,” said a health official.
Corporation secretary Binu Francis told TNIE that cleaning drains and fogging activities will be strengthened in the coming weeks. He added that pre-monsoon drives in every division would kick off soon. “Drainage system is clogged and has turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Plastic menace is also an issue. Also, many of our officials are directly and indirectly involved in the upcoming elections. They are juggling with other responsibilities including issual of licenses, since the date has been extended till March 20. So only after that, can they make themselves available for cleaning operations.
As part of the pre-monsoon sanitation drive, we will be executing Rs 1 lakh schemes in each ward,” said BinuHe said that once the fogging and cleaning activities are strengthened, the issue will be sorted to an extent. “We will be launching an awareness campaign after April 15 to sensitise the public. Water-borne and vector-borne diseases spike during June, July months,” he added.