With the ruling AIADMK facing flak over the spread of dengue in the state which has claimed 23 lives so far, the Tamil Nadu government today said it has undertaken work on "war-footing" to address the issue. Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said that a sum of Rs 13.95 crore has been for towards mosquito eradication efforts.
"Work on war-footing has been undertaken by the government to control the spread of dengue. Nilavembu (Anti- Pyretic-- used to treat fever) juice is being provided across 1,500 medical centres and medical colleges," he said. Further, 2,000 kg of nilavembu powder prepared by the state-run Tamil Nadu Medical Plant Farms and Herbal Medicine Corporation Limited (TAMPCOL) was being used to prepare decoction and this was being provided to the public across all primary health centres, he said.
Further, following the directions of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who has taken stock of the situation, dengue eradication programmes will be held every Thursday, he said. The minister urged people to visit their nearest government hospitals at the slightest hint of fever, saying 837 cell counter machines are being established in all the government hospitals for dengue tests. He also asked the public to ensure that their surroundings are clean. The government also called for "more cooperation" from the public in its efforts to control the spread of the fever, since "mass breeding of mosquitoes" happen mostly in domestic and semi-domestic areas.
In this calendar year, there have been nearly 75 fever- related deaths in the state, with 23 of them due to dengue, Health department officials said. Deaths from swine-flu and leptospirosis besides others comprise the rest of the deaths, they said. "The fact is that of the nearly 10,000 cases of fever, especially dengue, 9,900 people have survived and recovered," the officials said.
There was no need for people to panic, they said, adding, residents should mainly ensure that their surroundings are kept clean. "Dengue is caused by mass breeding of mosquitoes, mainly in fresh water sources, and therefore containers, drums or other storage devices holding water should remain closed," they said. The Tamil Nadu government has come under severe criticism following deaths due to dengue in cities including Chennai and Coimbatore, with the opposition targeting it over the spread of the fever.