Even as dengue has gripped as many as 13 districts, with situation fast assuming epidemic proportions in Cuttack, the Government seems to have finally woken up, announcing a fortnight-long awareness drive on vector-borne and water- borne diseases across the State.
The drive, to be launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday, would strive to create an awareness on environmental sanitation among the population for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and diarrhoea. The campaign would conclude with a two-day long intensive cleanliness drive for elimination of mosquito breeding sites in the households across the cities, towns and villages on August 13 and 14.
In the face of questions on belated efforts by the Government, Health Minister Damodar Rout said the drive had been scheduled for August in accordance with the seasonal trend of vector-borne and water- borne diseases during the monsoons. “This year, the rains not only came early, but have been vigorous causing the outbreak. Directed programmes have been launched to control the situation in the affected parts. The State-wide campaign will strengthen the efforts to control the spread”, he said.
The spread of dengue continues unabated in the State with one person succumbing to the disease and at least 363 others afflicted by July-end. Malaria, on its part, has claimed 21 lives as of June this year while four have died of diarrhoea in the same period. As many as 445 cases of diarrhoea have been reported till date.
The Unicef-supported muti-sectoral campaign ‘Nidhi mausa dakuchi asa __ malaria, dengue, diarrhoea kariba nasa’ will involve different departments of the Government, voluntary organisations and other stakeholders. The PRI members, Asha Anganwadi workers and gaon kalyan samitis will be oriented to undertake education as well as sanitation drives in their areas. Schoolchildren and teachers would be sensitised through a special comic book named ‘Masanka Bhaga Dauda’ on malaria awareness.
Around 154 mobile health units would be pressed into service for conduct of health camps and dissemination of campaign messages in seven high focused districts of Koraput, Sonepur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Keonjhar, Kalahandi and Kandhamal. NGOs would be mobilised to work in the urban slums, Rout said.