Last year, as the scourge of dengue went on a rampage across the national capital and Delhi’s hospitals reported 409 deaths due to dengue, the Dengue Death Review Committee confirmed only 60 deaths.
Last year, as the scourge of dengue went on a rampage across the national capital and Delhi’s hospitals reported 409 deaths due to dengue, the Dengue Death Review Committee confirmed only 60 deaths. Out of the about 68,000 positive deng-ue cases reported by the city’s hospitals, the SDMC, the nodal body, intimated only 22,436 cases.
From 2013 to 2015, advertisements to create public awareness against dengue were released between September and November — after the outbreak of dengue which defeated the objective of creating awareness to measure to prevent the disease’s outbreak. This was after spending Rs 10 crore on awareness campaign during the period.
These are among the damning findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on dengue in Delhi, accessed by this newspaper, and which is expected to be submitted in the Delhi Assembly in the upcoming Winter session.
The performance audit report, “Prevention and Control of Dengue in National Capital Territory of Delhi”, covers the period from January 2013 to December 2015 and was conducted to assess whether he steps taken by government agencies and municipal corporations to control dengue were adequate and effective.
Dengue has been a recurrent problem in Delhi from 1967 onwards and since then the number of cases and deaths have been rising over the years. “The institutional mechanism and steps taken by the departments and municipal corporations were not commensurate with the magnitude of the problem though funds were not a constraint,” the report says. Till date, no standard operating procedure has been developed for effective surveillance that could provide early warning of an impending dengue outbreak. “Nor was the-re a laboratory for the purpose,” the national auditor said, adding that only 289 of 967 reporting units repo-rted data of dengue pati-ents to the state surveillance units. In order to target mosquito larvae in houses, the municipal corporations engaged 3,358 unskilled people at a cost of Rs 110 crore.
“However, there was no monitoring or supervision of the work done or an assessment of their effectiveness.”
While a lot of insecticides, diluents, and equipme-nt were bought, there was no definitive policy or a system to test the suitability of insecticides or techniques. This was despite spending Rs 88 crore on the-se items from April 2013 to March 2016. Of the 84 lakh houses treated with six different types of insecticides using different techniques, 72 lakh houses were treated adopting techniques and chemical formulations “that were not prescribed or recommended by either the Directorate of National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme or the Programme Guidelines for Containment of Chikungunya and Dengue”.
While outdoor fogging is recommended only in eme-rgency situations to suppress an ongoing epidemic or to prevent an incipient one, the authorities “unde-rtook outdoor fogging during 2013-15 as a routine exercise”, the CAG report said.