Delhi Ready To Handle Dengue, Chikungunya Outbreak, Says Health Minister Satyendar Jain

New Delhi: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain today said the Aam Aadmi Party government was prepared to handle potential outbreak of the vector-borne disease chikungunya in the city. At least 100 cases of chikungunya have been reported in Delhi even before the onset of monsoon.

Chikunguniya and dengue killed 36 people in Delhi last year, according to government health officials. Delhi saw 12,221 suspected chikungunya cases till December 24, 2016 out of which 9,749 were confirmed. The Arvind Kejriwal government drew criticism over the high number of chikungunya cases.

“There have been meetings at the lieutenant governor’s level on steps to be taken to prevent breeding of mosquitoes. All civic agencies have been instructed as well. Besides, we have directed hospitals to increase their beds by 10-20 per cent,” Mr Jain told reporters today after inspecting Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital at Dilshad Garden in east Delhi. Mr Jain also spoke with patients and their family members.

His visit today comes days after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s inspection of Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, during which he expressed displeasure over the state of affairs there.

“There are about 10,000 beds in Delhi government hospitals. We put extra beds last year and this time too, we will add more beds if needed,” Mr Jain said.

At least 96 chikungunya cases have been reported in Delhi this year – 10 of them this month – according to a municipal report released yesterday. Mr Kejriwal had recently directed the authorities to make a comprehensive plan to deal with dengue and chikunguniya.

Delhi government health officials said municipal corporations are checking mosquito breeding at houses with door-to-door visits. Forty cases of dengue have been reported till May 27, the report said.

Though the vulnerable season of the vector-borne diseases ended in December, Delhi continues to report such cases, which has prompted the authorities to prepare a roadmap to combat them.

Some 4,431 cases of dengue were reported till the end of 2016. At least 15 fatalities were reported last year in hospitals across the city due to complications triggered by chikungunya, though municipal corporations insisted that the death toll was zero. Some 21 deaths due to dengue were reported last year at hospitals including nine at AIIMS, though the South Delhi Municipal Corporation maintained the death toll at 10. Seventeen suspected deaths in 2016 due to malaria were also reported by the civic agencies.

Vector-borne diseases are prevalent from mid-July till November-end. On May 13, Mr Kejriwal chaired a meeting of officers from Delhi’s three municipal corporations. He also wrote to union Health Minister JP Nadda seeking to reserve 10 per cent beds in central government-run hospitals for dengue and chikungunya patients.

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal yesterday directed the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) to keep beds ready for dengue and chikungunya patients in the event of an outbreak.