As Delhi reels under the menace of Chikungunya, citizens pray for a collaborative effort to tackle the problem. It is high time that the government, LG and civic agencies stop passing the buck and take action wherever they can to help the ever-deteriorating health situation. The disease, which has so far claimed at least 10 lives in the national capital, has seen over a thousand cases reported across the city till now and every day that passes, deaths and new cases are being reported with no respite to the public.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his government and the civic agencies have washed their hands repeatedly of the issue. The LG had stayed tight-lipped while civic agencies failed to do their due tasks like fumigation and cleaning of breeding sites. There is little action to give confidence to the general public that the situation is likely to improve on ground. Hospitals are overcrowded with patients and little medical aid is available to ailing patients, especially in the Centre and Delhi government-run medical establishments. Deaths have been reported from private hospitals which shows that the preventive measures are key to stopping the spread of the disease, something that Delhi hopes to see in the coming days. Even though Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Union Health Minister J P Nadda maintain that the preparations are in place, patients are regularly turned back from hospitals—public and private—to their homes.
Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has actively played the tug-of-war for administrative superiority in the capital. The city’s civic amenities also lie in a shambles. The municipal authorities have finally, after several deaths were reported, started fumigation in vulnerable pockets across the city. The agencies had gone without reprimand from either the MCDs’ chiefs or the LG during the recent months. Delhi’s public voted the Aam Aadmi Party to power and expect some action from their elected representatives, but the CM and other ministers’ no-responsibility and ‘all is well’ stance is irking the common Delhiite. Maybe it is just time that a truce is called and a compromise is brokered between all parties so that the citizen’s can have an end to their misery.
Jain has clarified that there are at least 2,000 beds vacant in Delhi’s government hospitals. Although, he added that the number of outpatients being treated in the same hospitals was upwards of 2 lakhs, almost twice the number from the average patients before Dengue and Chikungunya season.
For months, Kejriwal and Jung have been hitting at each other, but as the health crisis grapples the city it is time the fight is called off, for the sake of the citizens. It is not the prerogative of a single agency to handle this issue. The Centre, Delhi government, the LG and civic agencies in the capital, all have a dedicated structure under their command which if used collectively can easily curb the health crisis and give much needed relief to the citizens. Delhi has ample number of Centre-run and Delhi government-run hospitals. There are a good number of dispensaries run by both the Delhi health department and the CGHS. The municipal bodies are allotted funds exclusively for handling spread of vector borne diseases during the summers and monsoon season.
What proves to be a ray of hope is the fact that many of the conflicting parties have now announced actions implicitly. While he was away from Delhi in Bengaluru for his throat surgery, Kejriwal ordered action to the tackle Chikungunya operation. LG Najeeb Jung, upon his return from the US, also held an emergency meeting with Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Chief Secretary K.K. Sharma, Health Secretary Chandrakar Bharti, Principal Secretary (Finance) S.N. Sahai, all three municipal commissioners and medical superintendents of all major hospitals in the national capital. Jung has directed all authorities to go all out in efforts to wipe Chikungunya menace from the city.
Meanwhile, the number of reported cases in the capital are on a rise. Deaths are being reported on a daily basis now. Jain naively stated that Chikungunya is not fatal and that it is on Google for all to see. After showing an apathetic and casual attitude, the PWD and municipal bodies have a lot of work to do if they are to reduce breeding sites for mosquitoes. In all, Delhi is in for tough days to come with respite likely to come only in a resolute joint action plan between Kejriwal, Jung and the civic bodies.