It is an absolute truth that dengue can be controlled only through the participation of the citizens. It should be a multi-pronged, sustained, 24-hour vigil by every single citizen of the country. Otherwise the plan is doomed to fail. If we could eradicate Malaria surely we can conquer dengue too. First of all there must be continuous education of the masses to bring about the absolute awareness of the danger of dengue. It can only be eradicated by eradicating the mosquito menace.
Every single household, school, office and institute must be reminded to look for possible breeding areas of mosquitos each morning before starting work. All mass media must remind people of the danger and preventive methods. The country must be flooded with posters, leaflets and reminders in whatever way possible.
The campaign obviously has to be coupled with proper garbage disposal and looking out for breeding locations of the mosquitos. The housewives will be the best contenders along with other members of the family.
Many more public health workers have to be on the field to check on common areas and rather than hauling people into courts or giving spot fines, persuasion of cleaning up and maintaining a clean environment must take precedence.
There are many plants which ward off mosquitoes and they are not expensive. People must be persuaded to grow them in their gardens. Sometime back a school boy came up with an ingenious, inexpensive method of controlling the breeding of mosquitoes using a plastic bottle cut into two. It was talked about highly and then the idea was dumped. Why not resurrect this novel way of killing off all mosquitoes?
Fumigation and spraying malathion are ineffective temporary measures. Similarly mosquito coils, mosquito mats or nets cannot actually help in total eradication.
This cannot be achieved by a few individuals or few departments. It cannot be sustained by an anti dengue week or anti dengue month. It can only be achieved by a long term sustained effort by the government itself encouraging the whole nation to be part of it.It sounds hard but it is not โ€“ not if we put our heart into it.
Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai,
23A, Auburn side, Dehiwala

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