The rapid and extensive spread of Chikungunya didn’t happen overnight. It is unfortunate that the government, the various authorities concerned, including the two city corporations of the capital city, failed to attach importance to the matter in due time. Had attention been paid from the outset to the media reports on Chikungunya and the suffering of the patients, then perhaps the situation wouldn’t have got so out of hand. The government was too engrossed in trying to prove this wasn’t an epidemic.
Whether the government wants to call this an epidemic or not, the fact remains that Chikungunya has entered almost every house in the city. The spread of the sickness and the extent of the sufferings are basically due to the sheer irresponsibility of concerned quarters.
This disease is spread by the Aedes mosquito and the only way to prevent this disease is to control this mosquito. It is nothing new that this type of mosquito breeds in the monsoons, in pools and puddles of rainwater. It is the responsibility of the city corporations to control the mosquito menace, but they failed to do so. It is a wonder that the two mayors finally decided to open their mouths about Chikungunya and commit to do something to control mosquitoes. Regrettably, the two mayors refuse to admit their failure and failings. The concerned ministry too has failed miserably to bring about coordination between WASA and the city corporations for the clearing and maintenance of the city’s drains and sewers. No one accepts any responsibility whatsoever.
The Aedes mosquito basically breeds in water accumulated in and around households. It is imperative that the city dwellers be conscious and cautious in this regard. The mayor of Dhaka (North) came under a volley or criticism for retorting that he can’t be expected to go killing mosquitoes from house to house. He later apologised for his remark. No one had asked him to literally go from house to house killing mosquitoes, but have the city corporations done enough to raise public awareness in this regard? How effective has the area-based initiatives to eliminate mosquitoes actually been?
We hope the special programme and initiative now undertaken by the two Dhaka city corporations to eliminate mosquitoes will improve the situation. We also hope lessons will be learnt from this experience for the future. We do not want to witness such irresponsibility towards public interests ever again.