The talk at scores of offices in the capital these days generally hovers around who has taken leave due to an attack of viral fever. With thousands of Delhiites suffering from viral fever, and over 169 people detected for dengue, 750 for malaria and 11 got chikungania cases, the question is whether Delhi heading towards an epidemic.
Delhi health minister AK Walia admitted that the number of official cases of dengue may be much more than the statistics available with the state government at the moment. He said, “We are in the process of collecting data from private hospitals in the capital to know the total number of dengue cases. This is very important to ascertain the gravity of the situation. We have told the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NMC), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to increase fogging in various localities.”
Walia said that all hospitals in the capital would be instructed to sent separate report on the number of dengue cases in the city. “Generally, there is high susceptibility of people afflicted by dengue when construction work is going in the area where they live. This is because accumulation of water happens when construction work is on, which leads to breeding of mosquitoes. As it is, post the monsoon season, there is prevalence of viral fever. Around 68, 099 notices have been issued to persons undertaking work at 68,099 construction sites, and 4,277 people have been prosecuted for not taking necessary precautions,” he said.
Though the reported cases of dengue are 169, the real number of patients suffering from dengue is believed to be much higher. The increased number of cases of viral fever has increased the load on the 34 Delhi state government-run hospitals that are facing a shortage of 350 general duty medical officers (GDMOs), 470 para-medical staff and 90 non-teaching doctors. Recruitment of doctors is currently underway.
Dr Rajpal, medical superintendent, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said, “It is a pan-India issue. But the situation has got tougher now as doctors are not getting attracted to government service due to lucrative officers from private hospitals.”
Rajpal said that in the GTB Hospital, 10 cases of dengue have been reported this season. Other major hospitals that cater to the patients in Delhi include the central government-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences , Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, Delhi state government-run Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, GTB Hospital, Aruna Asaf Ali Government Hospital, Lok Nayak Hospital, Gobind Ballabh Panth Hospital and Dr BR Ambedkar Hospital, among others. Hospitals in the capital are run by the central government, state government and the three municipal corporations, in addition to the private ones.
Till now, the spread of dengue or viral fever has not reached epidemic proportions, but with one hospital for every 20,000 people, most of whom can’t afford private medical care, any rapid increase in the number of ailing patients may spell trouble.