Hanoi urged to strengthen dengue fever control

Friday, 2017-08-11 04:06:35
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Politburo member and Secretary of Hanoi Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai visits and presents gifts to patients undergoing dengue fever treatment at Thanh Nhan Hospital. (Credit: NDO)
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NDO – Against the complicated evolution of dengue fever, Hanoi has intensified measures to reduce the risk of the disease outbreak escalating and minimise the number of infections during hot and rainy weather.

On Thursday morning, Hoang Trung Hai, Politburo member and Secretary of Hanoi municipal Party Committee, inspected dengue fever prevention and control activities in Hoang Mai district and Thanh Nhan Hospital.

While visiting patients with dengue fever who are being treated at Thanh Nhan Hospital, Politburo member Hai highly appreciated the proactive efforts made by the hospital’s medical staff in providing timely treatment for the patients.

Taking a field trip to the Hoang Mai district, Hai also inspected a construction site in Thinh Liet ward.

According to the Hoang Mai leaders, since the beginning of the year, the district has had 2,483 people suffering from dengue fever - one of the areas with the largest number of dengue fever infections in Hanoi. The number of patients currently being treated in medical facilities is 315; while there have been 400 outbreaks, with 84 currently active, across 14 wards.

The district has also implemented various forms of raising public awareness on disease prevention and control, while organising 29 campaigns on environmental sanitation and killing mosquito larvae in 14 wards, spraying chemicals in 11 wards, and undertaking a review of areas at high risk of dengue fever transmission in 14 wards.

Giving a more detailed analysis on the dangers of dengue epidemics, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long emphasised that Hanoi is currently the second largest area in terms of dengue infections across the nation. Every week the number of infections increases by approximately 1,000 cases and Hanoi will lead the country regarding new infections.

According to Deputy Minister Long, the capital city is highly determined to take initial measures to actively respond to the epidemic, but clearly awareness of disease prevention in the local population remains limited.

Strong measures are needed to mobilise the participation of the relevant forces and calls for locals to raise their sense of responsibility for coordinated implementation, as well as spraying of mosquito-killing chemicals on a larger scale, Long urged.

Secretary Hai praised the efforts by local authorities in dealing with dengue fever but also voiced his concern that the complicated weather conditions during the hot and rainy seasons have facilitated the breeding of mosquitoes, leading to a rapid spread of the epidemic.

"All districts have joined the work, but the number of infections is still increasing, so we have to take more drastic measures," he emphasised, stressing the need to improve propaganda work in order to help local people understand the severity of the epidemic.

Furthermore, it is necessary to disseminate knowledge on disease prevention, while making a list of equipment and places which have favourable conditions for mosquito development to be checked and processed immediately.

Agreeing with the large-scale spraying of mosquito-killing chemicals and environmental sanitation, the secretary of Hanoi Party Committee requested that the task be carried out drastically in each house.

He asked the Hanoi Department of Health to revise local medical facilities to avoid overloading, while classifying patients to ensure they have a suitable treatment regimen, along with providing professional support to improve the efficiency of medical examination and treatment.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien urges for strengthened efforts from Hanoi to deal with the dengue fever in the capital city. (Credit: NDO)

Later the same day, leaders from the Ministry of Health held a working session with the relevant Hanoi agencies on combating dengue fever in the capital city.

Director of the Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu reported that 80,555 cases of dengue fever had been reported in the country so far this year, resulting in 24 deaths. More cases are expected as it is now the peak of the disease season.

Hoang Duc Hanh, Deputy Director of Hanoi's Health Department, said that Hanoi is the locality with the highest number of infections in the Northern provinces. As of August 9, the city has recorded 13,982 cases and seven deaths. 91% of communes and wards have people infected with dengue fever. The number of cases has increased many times over the same period of 2016 as the epidemic has arrived three months earlier. The number of patients who remain hospitalised is 1,673 (accounting for 12% of the total number of patients), the rest have been cured.

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien expressed concerns at the rising trend of dengue fever in Hanoi despite the drastic efforts made by the health sector. The minister suggested that Hanoi adds more drastic measures to prevent the epidemic.

If necessary, the ministry will mobilise support from neighbouring provinces for Hanoi in equipment and training for in-house spraying teams. "We need to reduce dengue with spraying," she affirmed.

The Preventive Medicine Department stressed that the main cause of the spread of dengue fever is the early arrival of summer this year with higher temperature and rainfalls than in previous years. Awareness with regards to disease prevention among the population and authorities is low due to the absence of the epidemic in recent years.

The Health Ministry will intensify the spraying of mosquito-killing chemicals in high-risk areas as the dengue fever epidemic shows signs of worsening. From August 14 to the month’s end, the Preventive Medicine Department will spray chemical at the precincts of Dong Da and Hai Ba Trung, in addition to a number of wards in Ba Dinh, and Hoan Kiem.

The department has set up three mobile taskforces to deal with the dengue epidemic. The Health Ministry will send experts from the central level to help the four Hanoi districts that have been hit hardest by the epidemic and dispatch six teams to inspect anti-epidemic work in eight hot-bed provinces.

In particular, the health sector will mobilise the cooperation of other branches and sectors to clean up the environment and kill mosquitos at construction sites and public areas, as well as at houses and schools.

Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no specific treatment for dengue and vaccination options are limited.

Patients who develop a sudden high fever of 39-40 degrees Celsius, lasting 2-7 days and with symptoms of headaches, tenderness and skin rashes should visit a hospital for diagnosis and treatment.