Amid debate over whether chikungunya can lead to death, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken today said Health Minister Satyendar Jain’s statement that people cannot die of chikungunya “shows his insensitivity and ignorance”. Jain has been reiterating that “as per medical literature chikungunya cannot cause death, and has accused media of spreading panic.”
“At a time when people are dying of chikungunya, the statement by the health minister that people cannot die of chikungunya shows his insensitivity and ignorance,” Maken said while launching a fogging drive by Delhi Pradesh Traders Congress here. At least 15 fatalities have been reported at various hospitals due to chikungunya complications, including a 22-year-old girl who died of a cardiac arrest triggered by chikungunya complications at Hindu Rao Hospital. “According to the 2015 report of WHO (World Health Organisation), 191 people in North America and South America had died of chikungunya,” Maken said, and asked, “whether people should reject the report of one of the key members of the UNO (United Nations Organisation) like the WHO, which said that people have died of chikungunya in America.”
Doctors say that chikungunya is not a life-threatening disease in general, but in rare cases leads to complications that prove fatal, especially in children and elderly persons. The committee set up by the Delhi government to review cases of death attributed to dengue and chikungunya complications has “ruled out” chikungunya as the primary cause of fatality and said it was “co-morbid conditions” in its patients which led to their deaths. Taking pot-shots at the Kejriwal government, Maken said over 30 lives have already been claimed by chikungunya and dengue, and crowded hospitals in Delhi are “putting 3-4 people on one bed”.
He alleged that the condition of the mohalla clinics was “equally bad” as these clinics open only for four hours daily, and doctors and medicines have become “scarce” there. Hitting out at the AAP government, Maken said the Delhi government has “woefully failed” to provide health care to the people at this critical time, which is a “violation of the Right to Life”, guaranteed in the Constitution. Delhi government, however, has asserted that adequate measures were in place, and “people should not panic”.