With malaria and chikungunya cases continuing to rise in the national capital, the Union Health Ministry today said it would soon hold a secretary-level meet with the Delhi government on ways to combat vector-borne diseases in the city. At least 125 cases of malaria, 152 cases of chikungunya and nearly 100 cases dengue were recorded till July 1, according to the latest municipal report. Union Health Minister J P Nadda Tuesday held a review meet on preparedness for vector-borne diseases here, which was attended by Health Secretary C K Mishra, Director General of ICMR Soumya Swaminathan and senior officials of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) and other institutions.
“We held two reviews, one for Delhi and the other for the rest of the states and UTs. In the meeting, we discussed all issues and it was also decided that a secretary-level meet would be held with the Delhi government,” Nadda said.
The meeting will look at preparedness and review steps taken to combat such diseases in the city. Besides, secretaries from both sides and representatives from the municipal corporations would also be present, he said.
“The meeting will take place in a few days,” he said.
A senior ministry official said the meeting could possibly take place on July 8.
Referring to the rising cases of malaria and chikungunya in Delhi, he said the Centre was “adequately prepared” and more diagnostic kits would be supplied. Central hospitals were equipped to handle any situation, Nadda said.
“It is a continuous process and we review our preparedness. We have made a checklist and in these meetings we will recheck those items,” the minister added.
Over 18,700 cases of dengue have been reported in the country this year, with the Health Ministry attributing the early onset of the monsoon as one of the factors for the spurt ahead of the vector-borne disease season. The number of dengue cases recorded in Delhi has touched nearly 100, with 44 of the infection cases diagnosed here being traced to other states.
Though the season of vector-borne diseases had ended in December, the city continued to report such cases, prompting authorities to prepare a roadmap for the combat plan. Six cases of dengue were reported in Delhi in January, four in February, 11 in March and another 11 in April.
The Delhi government had on June 23 issued instructions to state-run and private hospitals and nursing homes to increase their bed capacity by up to 20 per cent for the next six months to deal with the possible outbreak of dengue and chikungunya.
The government has banned over-the-counter sale of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and brufen as their use may “pose a threat” to dengue and chikungunya patients. On May 13, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had chaired a high-level meeting of officers from the three municipal corporations and the Delhi government to discuss the issue.
Seeing the rise in dengue cases, the Delhi High Court in May had ticked off the Centre, AAP government and the municipal corporations for “only holding discussions” and not taking any preventive steps to check the vector-borne diseases.
“Mosquitoes do not wait for the meetings,” the bench had shot back when informed that Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal were looking into the issue and high-level meetings were taking place to address the issue.
At least 21 deaths due to dengue were reported last year at various hospitals, including nine at AIIMS, though the official tally of the SDMC stood at 10. Seventeen suspected deaths in 2016 due to malaria were also reported by the civic bodies.
In one of the worst outbreaks, a total of 12,221 chikungunya cases were reported in Delhi till December 24, 2016, out of which 9,749 were confirmed. The season for the vector-borne diseases begins from mid-July and generally lasts till November-end.