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Fighting Dengue

August 5, 2023

Secretary Health and Medical Education (H&ME), Bhupinder Kumar has reviewed the preparedness of the department for possible dengue epidemic in Jammu on Thursday. Secretary Health emphasized that dengue is an emerging threat in the coming months as it is seasonal disease of monsoon and post-monsoon period. He exhorted upon all the stakeholders to focus on three pronged strategies for control and prevention of dengue like case management, IEC/BCC and Integrated Vector Control Management. The recent surge in reported cases across neighbouring regions sounds a stern alarm. Therefore, the authorities have held a timely meeting to adopt proactive measures to avert a possible dengue outbreak within Jammu. Dengue, a viral infection transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, has the capacity to spread rapidly, causing severe flu-like symptoms that can escalate to life-threatening complications if not managed promptly. The risk is not just confined to rural areas or specific demographics; urban centers like Jammu are equally susceptible due to increased human movement, growing population density, and environmental factors conducive to mosquito breeding. Though Kashmir has an unfavourable climate for Aedes mosquitoes, visitors and tourists still need to be monitored on their arrivals in the Valley. To confront this imminent threat, a multi-pronged approach is imperative. First and foremost, community awareness and education campaigns must take center stage. The public needs to be well-informed about dengue’s symptoms, transmission, and preventive measures. Simple yet effective steps such as eliminating stagnant water sources, using mosquito repellents, and wearing protective clothing can go a long way in curbing the mosquito population and reducing the risk of transmission. In this regard, the Secretary has already called upon the officers for an aggressive IEC/ BCC campaign for awareness of the community be carried out on local radio, television and through Jammu Municipal Corporation garbage collection vans. Kumar also issued on-spot instructions to enhance surveillance activities of Vector Borne Diseases in districts, identification of the high risk areas should be prioritized and accordingly strategies for integrated vector management (IVM) be worked out. He emphasized upon officers to ensure availability of diagnostic kits/ drugs, insecticides and other logistics in all districts of Jammu division. He further directed all CMOs to enhance surveillance and source reduction activities for control of dengue. Local authorities must continue to collaborate closely with healthcare institutions to ensure early detection and effective management of dengue cases. Hospitals and clinics should be well-equipped to diagnose and treat the infection, while also disseminating information to patients on proper care and warning signs. Furthermore, Jammu’s urban planning should incorporate mosquito control measures into its framework. Efforts to improve waste management, drainage systems, and green spaces not only enhance the city’s aesthetic but also help reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds. Adopting sustainable practices that prioritize cleanliness and hygiene will pay dividends in terms of public health. Engaging the community is pivotal. Local residents, businesses, and community organizations can contribute to the fight against dengue by participating in clean-up drives, distributing educational materials, and advocating for stronger preventive measures. Their collective efforts can create a more resilient and proactive defense against the disease.

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