Less talk, more action
The local government infrastructure must be strengthened to effectively fight against dengue, said speakers at a discussion yesterday.
They said instead of just focusing on chalking out projects, city corporations and other local government entities should make dengue prevention activities an integral part of their operations.
Presided over by Advocate Sultana Kamal, president of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa), experts as well as environmental and health rights activists participated in the virtual discussion titled "Environment and Dengue: Health Perspective".
Dr Abu Muhammad Zakir Hussain, convener of Bapa's Environment and Health Technical Committee, gave the keynote presentation, describing the relation between climate change and dengue.
He said climate change is related directly or indirectly with disabilities; drowning; air, water, food-borne and vector-borne diseases; and psychological stress. The dengue outbreak is just one of these problems.
He said dengue prevention activities have been failing due to the weak capacity of city corporations, which needs to be addressed with priority.
Sultana Kamal said amid the climate crisis, if the people
are not aware of the situation, it is tough to stay safe from dengue. As the environmental situation is deteriorating, different diseases are on the rise now-a-days.
She stressed on proper planning by the government, and continuation of different programmes centring the issue.
"The continuation of the previous five-year plan is not noticed [in the next five-year plan]. The five-year plan is now project-based, and this practice is now a habit," she said.
She alleged that the government policymakers consider calls from environmentalists as "irrational". "[We] become victims of harassment when [we] keep talking."
Mohidul Hoque Khan, treasurer of Bapa; Prof Golam Rahman, former president of Bangladesh Institute of Planners; and Dr Aftab Uddin, chairperson of Public Health Foundation, spoke at the event among others.