Brahm Mohindra, Health and family welfare minister Punjab, today declared war against the vector borne diseases and instructed the health officials and the officials from 11 departments to tackle these on priority. "There should be no laxity given in dealing with the outbreak of these diseases. All the concerned departments should focus on prevention and awareness about these diseases” said Mohindra. He asked the department to launch massive awareness drive through various mediums to educate the people so that these diseases do not start developing. Consistent campaigns should be conducted on the radio, mass media, bulk SMS, Cinemas, hand out, pamphlets to make people aware.
Chairing the meeting of state task force today for the vector borne diseases, Mohindra also said that he would personally take up the matter with local bodies Minister for ensuring smooth operations especially in the cities. The local bodies should also stress on the spraying in collaboration with the health department before the season starts. He also asked the education department to generate awareness among the general public through the school children by way of quiz competitions, lectures during the morning assemblies and giving the children a questionnaire regarding these diseases. Even the school children of classes 9th and 10th should be having special curriculum for these vector borne diseases. He also instructed the transport department to arrange for proper covers where ever the stores of condemned tyres are there in Punjab because these are main places of the breeding of Aedes mosquito, which is responsible for the dengue fever. These waste tyres should be immediately discarded and proper spray should be done to prevent the growth of the vector. He also instructed department of rural development and panchayats to use the Gambusia fish in the ponds, spraying and sanitizing in the rural areas, and reporting by the medical officers in the rural areas. Even the IMA should report the cases to the health department immediately so that the outbreak could be avoided by plugging the breeding place.
Mohindra also asked the department of water supply and sanitation, roadways, fisheries, animal husbandry, medical education and research, labour and Indian medical association to deal with the diseases in strict manner.
Mohindra said that in case of malaria mostly cases are from the rural areas rather than urban while dengue is reported more in urban. There are 26 sentinel surveillance hospitals in the state providing free diagnostic facility for dengue and chikunguniya where tests for these diseases are also done free. Supportive treatment for dengue is also given free in all the district level and sub division level hospitals. Dengue wards with mosquito nets have been established at each district, sub division, CHC, ESI hospital and medical colleges. Even blood component separators are also available in all the districts. Spray with insecticides and larvicides is done in the houses where a case of dengue or chikunguniya is reported. Punjab is the first state to introduce Malaria treatment cards. The mosquito of dengue (aedes) matures from egg to adult in 7-10 days so all the containers, tanks, refrigerator trays etc should be emptied and cleaned once in a week in order to prevent dengue and chikungunya. It is also the first state to launch an android mobile app "dengue free Punjab”.