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Mobilising people to fight vector-borne diseases in Delhi

Mosquitoes. Vector-borne diseases concept. “Probably for the first time, the Centre, state and all local bodies will put together their efforts to mobilise the community for a public health activity,” said Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, as he announced a three-day campaign in Delhi beginning this week to increase public awareness of vector-borne diseases yesterday.

Amidst the monsoon rains which have begun to hit the national capital, vigilance against vector-borne diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, and malaria is vital. The monsoon season gives ample opportunities to mosquitoes to find new breeding grounds in the abundance of open pockets of water. 

Earlier this year, the Delhi government announced it was taking a series of pre-emptive measures against mosquitoes in advance of the monsoon season, such as making sure medicines, larvicides, and insecticides were available and monitoring the abundance of stagnant water pockets and mosquito breeding patterns. Now, with the rains underway, the Centre is exhorting “the people’s representatives, officers from central and Delhi governments, all three municipal corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council, railways and cantonment board and other stakeholders” to join a collaborative effort to mobilise populations for vigilance against the infectious conditions. Vardhan has written to lawmakers, officials including mayors, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejiriwal to encourage them to join the effort. 

“It is going to be a people’s movement,” said Vardhan (who represents Delhi’s Chandi Chowk in the Lok Sabha). The campaign will involve teams of between twenty and 25 members across Delhi’s 272 municipal wards and fourteen locations. Steps taken will include dispensing materials including handbills to members of the public to raise awareness of the conditions, as well as identifying and destroying breeding sites. 

“With collective effort and active people’s participation,” Vardhan said, “it is easy to ensure that before the monsoon, we make our neighborhoods and various premises free of mosquitoes.”

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