Vector-borne diseases are beyond control despite fund flow
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Nov 27: The Centre keeps on pumping huge amounts of cash to Assam to keep vector-borne diseases at bay, but the diseases are far from being controlled. Dengue has taken many lives in Assam, including Guwahati, this year. What could be the reason behind such a dismal performance of the State Health Department on this front?
Official records suggest that the tiol Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) has been a total failure in Assam. The NVBDCP is the central nodal agency for the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases – malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis (JE), Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), chikungunya, lymphatic filariasis, kala-azar etc.
Vector-borne diseases are infamous in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil du, Maharashtra, Kerala, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, etc. In Assam, the occurrence of such diseases is reported from Barpeta, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Udalguri, lbari, Morigaon, gaon, Kamrup and Kamrup(M) districts.
The NVBDCP has specific guidelines for taking action to prevent and control the birth of various vectors like mosquito. The programme has clearly spelt out a time-table as to when what type of mosquito lays eggs, when fogging is to be done and ways to control them. The State Health Department is supposed to implement all these under the State NVBDCP office. Despite no dearth of funds, vector-borne diseases are beyond control in Assam where they continue to claim human lives. Poor implementation of guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the tiol Vector Borne Disease Control Programme in Assam to fight the disease is to be blamed for such a dismal performance on this front in the State. Assam has been topping the list of States where JE has been taking human lives for the past three consecutive years. The tolls by other vector-borne diseases are also on the rise in the State.
According to official records, under the NVBDCP the Centre released Rs 3813.45 lakh against an allocation of Rs 5168.19 lakh in fiscal 2013-14, Rs 2673.04 lakh against an allocation of Rs 3036 lakh in fiscal 2014-15, Rs 3260.14 lakh against an allocation of Rs 2591 lakh in fiscal 2015-16 and Rs 586.64 lakh against an allocation of Rs 2395.10 lakh till October 31, 2016.
Despite pumping of huge amounts of funds to check vector-borne diseases in Assam, the State has an official record of 84 deaths caused by JE against 211 deaths in the country till October 30, 2016. Assam is followed by Uttar Pradesh with a toll of 53 persons during the period.
According to official records, 183 of the 1,082 deaths caused by AES in the country till October 30, 2016 are in Assam. Since 2013, cases of JE and AES have been rising at rapid rates in Assam.
The toll of JE in the State was 134 against 495 cases in 2013, 165 against 765 cases in 2014, 135 against 614 cases in 2015 and 84 against 410 cases till October 31, 2016.
The toll of AES in the State was 273 against 1388 cases in 2013, 360 against 2194 cases in 2014, 260 against 1409 cases in 2015 and 183 against 1662 cases till October 31, 2016.
The toll of malaria in the State was 7 against 19542 cases in 2013, 11 against 14540 cases in 2014, 4 against 15557 cases in 2015 and 3 against 6281 cases till October 31, 2016.
Dengue cases in the State were 4526 in 2013, 85 in 2014, 1076 in 2015 and 3429 till October 31 in 2016. As many as 742 clinically suspected chikungunya cases were reported in the State in 2013. The number of cases drew blank in 2014 and 2015. However, as many as 38 cases of the disease have been reported till October 31 in 2016.