A section of Dhaka dwellers has voluntarily taken measures to kill mosquitoes and prevent them from breeding, aiming to curb further spread of dengue in the capital.
Locals are spraying mosquito repellents in their respective areas; cleaning their localities by destroying possible mosquito breeding grounds and sources; monitoring activities of under-construction buildings; and running awareness programmes.
They are also collecting and destroying unnecessary containers -- such as plastic jars, bottles, cans, tyres and buckets -- that can store stagnant water in which Aedes mosquitoes can lay eggs.
“Destroying possible sources [of the spread of mosquitoes] by members of the community is effective when done regularly to control Aedes and subsequently the spread of dengue fever,” epidemiologist of Dhaka Shishu Hospital Kinkar Ghosh said.
The local community came forward as this year’s dengue spread is already the worst the country has seen, with at least 56,369 cases detected and at least 106 dead so far.
The number of reported infections is five times that of last year, and the actual figures are likely to be higher as many cases go unreported.
Meanwhile, four more people have died after being infected with dengue in Dhaka, Barishal, Shariatpur and Faridpur.
WHAT LOCAL COMMUNITIES ARE DOING
City dwellers said they took the initiatives to help the city corporations’ anti-mosquito drives, as dengue fever has spread all over the country.
“We took the initiative to prevent further spread of dengue,” said Hossain Zillur Rahman, one of the initiators of an anti-mosquito drive in Dhanmondi.
“The government and city corporations are working but you have to turn your awareness into action to tackle dengue,” added Zillur, Brac chairperson and a public health activist.
He and others have formed an organisation named “Parichhannata 28”, which comprises house owners living on old road no. 28 of Dhanmondi.
Several locals of the area said they sprayed mosquito repellents using fog machines and cleaned their localities on August 2. They have been regularly doing so since then.
They also put up signboards in front of under-construction buildings terming them potential danger zones for dengue, and urged the authorities to take necessary steps to prevent mosquito breeding.
“We will all meet in a day or two to finalise the detailed action plan to prevent mosquitoes in our localities. I will urge residents of other roads to take similar steps,” Zillur said.
He said another reason of their coming forward was the city corporations’ irregular anti-mosquito drives.
Several teams of volunteers from a social organisation named Bidyananda Foundation have sprayed mosquito repellents using fog machines in Pallabi and Arambagh areas of Mirpur, and adjacent areas of airport railway stations of Uttara area this month.
Salman Khan Yeasmin, manager of the foundation’s Dhaka branch, said they took the initiative as part of their responsibilities towards the society.
He said they are holding the drives targeting slum areas.
Churihatta Ekota Shangha, another organisation, has conducted anti-mosquito drives in Chawkbazar, Churihatta and Rahmatganj areas of Old Dhaka from August 3 to August 10, said president of the organisation Ashraf Uddin Shadhin.
Ranjana Rani Roy, leader of the Scout unit of Udayan Higher Secondary School, said they have been conducting awareness programmes since before Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated on June 6, to conduct cleaning drives in Dhaka University and adjoining areas.
She said they are also doing a door-to-door awareness campaign to make people aware about Aedes mosquito and dengue.
Mohammad Mominul Haque, youth chief of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s Dhaka unit, said 80 members of their unit have been working at the grassroots level since August 2.
“We have already visited 80 schools, many houses and mosques in 20 wards of Dhaka South City Corporation to raise awareness,” he said, adding that they will continue this work for another month.
Around 170 members of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society have been working in Dhaka to build social awareness on the issue, he said.
Meanwhile, Kazi Wazed Ali, officer-in charge of Sutrapur Police Station, said they have cleaned the police station and its premises under the initiative of Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday.
“We also cleaned and destroyed Aedes breeding sources at the station and its adjoining areas several times before Eid-ul-Azha,” he said.
City Development Journalists’ Forum Bangladesh along with Dhaka South City Corporation held a cleanliness programme to destroy possible sources of Aedes larvae at Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon and Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam both welcomed the community initiatives to prevent dengue.
Sayeed Khokon said, “It is difficult for the city corporations alone to kill Aedes mosquitoes as it breeds on clean, stagnant water that can be found anywhere. Everyone should come forward to curb the spread of dengue.”
FOUR MORE DIE
In Dhaka, dengue patient Rehana Begum, 67, yesterday morning around 11:40pm in Green Life Hospital’s intensive care unit. She was admitted to the hospital, located in the capital’s Green Road area, on August 9.
She died from dengue shock syndrome, hospital sources said.
Rehana was a doctor living in the United States, who had come to Dhaka on holiday.
In Barishal, a school teacher from Barguna’s Amtali upazila, died yesterday after being diagnosed with dengue at Barishal Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital.
She was initially admitted to Patuakhali General Hospital on August 17 and then transferred to Barishal Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital where she died around 12:30am, said Dr Shankar Prasad Adhikari, Amtali upazila’s health officer.
In Shariatpur, dengue patient Suraiya Begum, 35, died in her house in Damuda upazila yesterday, reports UNB.
She was diagnosed with dengue on August 16, sources said.
In Faridpur, Saheb Ali, 45, of Rajbari, died while being treated for dengue fever in Faridpur Medical College Hospital around 9:10pm on Monday.
Kamoda Prosad Saha, superintendent of Faridpur Medical College Hospital, said, “Saheb Ali was admitted to the hospital around 12:00pm on Monday with dengue.”
A record 56,379 people have been infected with the mosquito-borne disease so far this year, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
Of them 6,470 are currently under treatment in hospitals across the country.
A total of 1,572 new patients -- 750 in Dhaka and the rest outside -- were admitted to different hospitals in 24 hours until 8:00am yesterday, according to the DGHS.