ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Outbreak of Politics

Each outbreak of dengue shows no lessons have been learnt.

The official and public response to the ongoing outbreak of dengue in Delhi, Mumbai and other places in India have been marked by features that could well be categorised as “how not to deal with a disease outbreak.” The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Central Government and the Aam Aadmi Party Government of Delhi have been flinging allegations at one another while extolling their own efforts even as private hospitals seem to be almost rubbing their hands in glee at what the public panic means for their coffers. One major hospital chain even went to the extent of offering insurance for dengue.

Despite the seemingly inexhaustible media coverage, or rather because of it, the clamour for admission into hospital for every patient with fever has led to hospital beds being unnecessarily occupied. And yet, healthcare activists find that public awareness about the disease and what really constitutes preventive care and the first line of treatment is abysmally low as is the public health system’s ability to cope with the large number of cases. The other bugbear, of poor data collection and methodology, has only made a messy situation worse. All in all, it is difficult to believe that India has been witnessing such dengue outbreaks for more than two decades now and there are few signs that lessons have been learnt.

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