Shah Alam was looking forward to seeing the child’s face. After completing his studies, Shah Alam did not have that opportunity to join a pharmaceutical company in Dhaka a few years ago. He died only at the age of 25. When he died in hospital last August, his wife was 8 months pregnant. Failing all the efforts of the doctors, he left on the 20th of that month to the country of no return. This year has witnessed countless such heartbreaking incidents. And all these events are tied to one source – dengue.
Even at the beginning of winter, the country could not get out of this dengue outbreak. This year’s dengue outbreak has shattered all previous records. Analyzing the data of the Department of Health and IEDCR, it can be seen that most people are affected by dengue this time, and the death record is also very high. There are still many dengue patients admitted in hospitals.
According to the information of the Department of Health, the number of people affected by dengue on December 23 this year is 3 lakh 20 thousand 272 people. Exactly one year ago on December 23, 2022, the number of dengue cases was 61 thousand 883. This year’s deaths beat the number of infections and deaths in the past few years.
According to the data of the Department of Health, 1 lakh 1 thousand 354 people were infected with dengue in 2019. The number of dengue cases in 2020 was comparatively less. In 2021, dengue cases increased to 28 thousand 429 people. In 2022, the number of people identified increased to 62 thousand 382.
According to IEDCR data, 164 people died of dengue in 2019, 7 people in 2020, 105 people in 2021, 281 people died in 2022. Deaths this year have surpassed all records.
The severity of dengue reached such a level that more than 11,000 dengue cases were detected in September alone. At one point, the parents even demanded the closure of educational institutions to protect their children from dengue.
An example will explain the fear. Last August, 107 students of Bangladesh Mahila Samiti Girls’ High School and College in Chittagong were infected with dengue. At that time, students and parents panicked. In this incident, many parents demanded the closure of educational institutions to save the lives of their children. In the end, even though the official announcement of closure of educational institutions did not come, five precautionary instructions were issued.
The situation is such that the Department of Health informed in July that it is not possible to take any more dengue patients in Mugda Hospital. Because at that time there were 2 patients in one bed in Mugaday.
However, there was no shortage of government initiatives to prevent dengue. At least for the past few days, some people have been seen in the alleys of Dhaka city with mosquito killers. But nothing was happening. Finally, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) applied bacteria to kill Aedes mosquitoes that carry dengue. This medicine was brought from Singapore. Earlier, the city corporation released Novalrun tablets in water bodies, guppy fish in drains, ducks in water bodies and frogs in ponds to kill Aedes. Initiatives are also taken to identify mosquito breeding sites with drones.
Apart from this, dengue corner was introduced in all government hospitals of the country. At the same time, dengue dedicated wards were launched in medical colleges and specialized hospitals. In order to prevent dengue, dengue test is also arranged at 50 taka instead of 100 taka in all government hospitals.
But unfortunately it did not reduce the mosquito population. According to the data published by the Department of Health, the number of dengue cases from January 1 to December 23, 2023 is 320 thousand 272. Among them, the number of infected people in Dhaka city is 1 lakh 9 thousand 776 people, outside Dhaka city 2 lakh 10 thousand 496 people. The number of deaths till 2023 (December 23) was 1 thousand 693 people.
Despite all these efforts, experts say that the microorganism has changed its form this year as the reason for the difficulty in killing Aedes mosquitoes. The severity of dengue was much higher. Dengue is no longer a seasonal disease. Outbreaks of dengue have been observed for most of the year, which may continue.
Doctor and public health expert Lelin Chowdhury said, ‘The dengue outbreak that has been going on for the past two years has taken a terrible shape this year. Bangladesh has ranked first in the world in terms of the number of deaths due to dengue this year. Dengue is carried by the Aedes mosquito. Dengue is spread by two species of Aedes mosquito (domestic and wild). No science-based well-coordinated plan and program has been adopted so far to control and eradicate these mosquitoes across the country.
Experts say that the activities that have been taken in some big cities and towns, including the capital, are basically ineffective and very inadequate. So far the common people have not been involved in the control of dengue. Environmental control, chemical control and biological control (using BTI) are not coordinated. Primarily exhibitionist activities have been undertaken rather than work activities. Therefore, even though hundreds of crores of rupees have been spent, dengue has not been brought under control. Experts feel that an intensive campaign involving the public is necessary to effectively control dengue.