| Himanta Biswa Sarma |
Guwahati, Aug. 31: Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today appealed to people not to panic in the wake of a dengue outbreak in the state.
Sarma told reporters here that out of 41 persons who are suffering from the disease, two have died and all measures to contain the problem are on in full swing. Unofficial figures put the toll at three.
“I have discussed the dengue situation in detail with doctors and experts. The disease has not yet become an epidemic. In 2012, 966 persons suffered from dengue. It is sad that two people from the same family of the Zoo Road area in the city have died because of dengue. But I must say that compared to other parts of the country, prevalence of the disease is quite low in Assam. So there is no reason to panic. The need of the hour is to take precautionary measures and remain alert,” the minister said.
Sarma’s statement has come a day ahead of Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad visiting the state to inaugurate various national health schemes including the tele-radiology system at Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital in Panbazar and a mother-and-child tracking system.
Sarma said all possible efforts are being initiated with the help of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to contain the disease. Fogging operations are on in different parts of the city. He said the number of fogging machines of the GMC would be increased from six to 30.
He said free sample service centres have been opened at Dhirenpara, Hatigarh, Pandu and Dispur capital health dispensaries where people can give their blood samples for dengue test. He said such tests are already being carried out at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) is not convinced with the health minister’s assurance.
The union wondered how the GMC could be expected to monitor or take effective steps to contain the fatal disease when the post of a chief medical officer has been lying vacant for several months. The AASU alleged that a veterinarian was now monitoring dengue data.
Sarma said Azad would announce several other important schemes for the state tomorrow.