Around 10,000 students of medical and dental colleges and health technology institutes are going to conduct today a social awareness campaign on chikungunya in all 93 wards of Dhaka city corporations.
Teams from the city corporations would also take part in the campaign to destroy larva or pupae of aedes mosquitoes that transmit viral diseases -- chikungunya and dengue.
"We expect this massive campaign to create better understanding of how communities can eliminate breeding sources of aedes mosquitoes as well as the measures chikungunya patients should take," said Prof Dr Sanya Tahmina, director (communicable disease control, CDC) at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The initiative taken by the CDC unit of DGHS comes when chikungunya has become quite common in the capital with fears of further spread of the viral disease due to very high presence of aedes mosquitoes.
Forty-seven of the 53 areas of two Dhaka city corporations surveyed by the DGHS early June this year were found with a very high presence of aedes mosquitoes.
On average, fifty-two percent of plastic barrels, buckets, clay pots, used or abandoned tyres and tubes and water tanks have been found with larva or pupae of this mosquito. Besides, stored clean water is a perfect breeding place for aedes mosquitos.
Dr Tahmina said the campaign would begin at 9:00am and end at 2:00pm. Health Services Division Secretary Sirajul Haque Khan and Health Education and Family Welfare Division Secretary Sirajul Islam would inaugurate the campaign in Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation respectively.
"The students in groups will go to the households, show practically the possible breeding sources of aedes mosquitoes and encourage people to inform it to others," Dr Tahmina told The Daily Star. They would also distribute leaflets containing such information.
Niaz Morshed, a student of Dhaka Medical College, who attended an orientation on the campaign, said they were excited about the massive campaign.
"We will inform the people how they can prevent chikungunya by not creating any scope for aedes mosquitoes to breed," he told this correspondent.
Besides, Niaz said they would inform them what to do if one is infected with the disease.
Chikungunya causes fever and severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks.
While dengue can be fatal at times, chikungunya is not. However, for patients with old-age complications or diabetes, chikungunya might lead to fatalities, epidemiologists say.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.