'Clean Kerala' campaign: State govt finally wakes up to over 100 fever deaths in 2017

The mission, however, is only for three days.
'Clean Kerala' campaign: State govt finally wakes up to over 100 fever deaths in 2017
'Clean Kerala' campaign: State govt finally wakes up to over 100 fever deaths in 2017
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It’s mission ‘Clean Kerala’! For three days beginning Tuesday, the Kerala government is carrying out a state-wide clean-up drive in the wake of an increasing number of fever cases.

More than 100 people have died of fever in 2017 alone, with official data from the Health Department revealing that around 14 lakh people were affected by communicable diseases this year.  While 53 people have died of H1N1, there were 800 confirmed cases of swine flu. Data also showed that until June this year, there were 7300 confirmed cases of dengue, with 13 people dying from the mosquito-borne disease. Health Department stats reveal there were 2,04,926 cases of Hepatitis A and B, and 295 cases of malaria. The other communicable diseases in the state include mumps, typhoid, chikungunya and measles.

And while these numbers are only from government hospitals, the actual figures may be twice this, with a number of patients going to private hospitals in Kerala as well.

With the monsoon active across the state, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government is now acting with a sense of urgency. While Chief Minister Pinarayi inaugurated the initiative in Kannur on Tuesday morning, CPI (M) State Secretary launched the drive in Thiruvananthapuram General Hospital.

 “The three-day campaign has started today. The campaign will be held with the help of local governments and incorporating NCC, scouts, student cadets and other students. Requesting help in this mission, we have sent letters to educational institutions and hospitals. The whole state has to come together in this mission,” Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Waste dumped near Edapally Vytilla byepass in Kochi

Ministers, MPs, MLAs and other local leaders are spearheading the cleaning campaign at different areas in the state.

However, health experts say that such campaigns should be routinely carried out and should have been done prior to the monsoon season.

“H1N1 and dengue are one of the biggest concerns in the state now. Apart from that about 80% of fever cases also come under contagious diseases, which are all a result of lack of cleanliness. Kerala’s health issues will not be solved by the three-day clean-up campaign. We should have been prepared to deal with monsoon diseases earlier,” says a senior officer from the Directorate of Health Service.

He also added, “Increased mosquito breeding in urban habitats leads to the spread of dengue. Hepatitis is also transmitted through contaminated water and food, while malaria is also cause due to mosquitoes and typhoid is spread through contaminated food and water. Cleanliness can also prevent cases of salmonella and H1N1.”

And while mission Clean Kerala has begun in many districts, the heavy rain is hampering the pace of the drive.

“In Ernakulam district, we have not yet started the campaign, it will begin tomorrow from Kammatipadam colony. We have discussed the plan today,” Cochin Corporation, Health Standing Committee Chairperson VK Minimol said.

“In Kochi we have done a clean-up drive on several occasions prior to the monsoon. But we still see waste being dumped, people’s mentality should change. In the city, the waste collection process is routine and systematic,” she added.

State capital Thiruvananthapuram, however, has the distinction of reporting nearly half of the dengue cases in the state.

“All the fever cases are higher this year. The main reason is failure in pre-monsoon cleaning and lack of precautions taken. Poor waste management by local bodies as well as by individuals are another major reason,” the officer from DHS said.

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