According to weekly vector-borne disease reports, the capital has seen fewer cases of dengue, malaria and chikungunya in 2020 than in the last few years. However, one should not fall into a false sense of security, warn senior public health department officials. Sentinel surveillance hospitals are not in a position to provide a clear picture due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the city, they say.
As many as 36 hospitals report dengue, malaria and chikungunya cases to city’s municipal corporations on a weekly basis. Officials, however, say that many of them have been turned into COVID facilities and data collection has been impacted. During the lockdown, the civic bodies had even stopped getting the weekly report from the anti-malaria department. While it has resumed now, many hospitals are still not reporting the vector-borne disease count, claims an official.
According to the latest weekly report, Delhi has so far seen 40 malaria cases, while the malaria case count until the same point of time was almost double at 75 cases in 2019 and 2018.
The 36 sentinel hospitals include all major government hospitals and some private hospitals. The list includes hospitals like LNJP, Hindu Rao, AIIMS, RML, Safdarjung, Babu Jagjivan Ram among others.
A senior public health official said that since major hospitals are treating COVID patients, people maybe preferring to get treatment at their local clinics. “These are initial days and several weeks of monsoon are still remaining. There may be a major crisis if clear data does not arrive. Capturing more case data helps in localised planning of fumigations and anti-mosquito drives. The number of door-to-door visits by domestic breeding checkers has already seen a drastic fall due to COVID,” the official added.
Explaining the process of surveillance, the official said that vector-borne disease cases from sentinel hospitals are reported to both the management information centre at Connaught Place and Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme officials.
“The information is segregated and shared with all civic bodies for necessary action. After the receipt of the action taken report, a weekly report is prepared for distribution to all agencies,” the official added. SDMC is the nodal reporting agency in the capital.
Last year, a proposal to make reporting of mosquito-borne diseases mandatory for clinics across the city by declaring it as “dangerous disease” was sent to the government, but it is still awaiting notification. “Such notification will vastly improve the process of data collection and help authorities frame a better response plan,” said another health official.