Prevention is Better than Cure

Dr Asangba Tzudir

Currently the state of Nagaland especially Dimapur is grappling with the outbreak of eye flu and dengue. As a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the eye flu infection, schools in the three districts of Dimapur, Chümoukedima and Niuland have been closed for a week. As for the dengue, the Health Minister has asked the department for the specific list of requirements that are needed at the moment for management of the dengue crisis. The Minister had also informed the department that the administration, police and civil societies would discuss the steps to be taken up for awareness on sanitation and cleanliness in order to prevent and control dengue.

In terms of medical infrastructure and health care delivery, it has really improved since the Covid-19 pandemic. While the presence of adequate infrastructure, human resources and health care delivery is imperative, the aspect of disaster preparedness and emergency seems to have found wanting. 

It is said that, globally, each year an estimated 400 million people are infected with dengue virus through the bites of infected mosquitoes. And the only way out to prevent infection is to avoid mosquito bites since a few mosquito bites per household can produce large dengue outbreaks. The fact that no medicines are available to treat dengue except medicines to relieve pain also adds to the need to prevent mosquito bites.  

The current surge in dengue and the positivity rate is quite alarming. Added to this, the reports of spike in blood transfusions as reported by Dimapur District Hospital is a worrying trend and the fact that the number of dengue cases this year has already exceeded last year’s number of infections.   

One thing which requires immediate intervention from the concern authorities is to do fogging and disinfecting areas where the dengue mosquito lays its eggs especially water-filled containers and septic tanks. Priority areas needs to be disinfected first, followed by ditches and drainages, though it is said that the dengue mosquito does not lay eggs in ditches, drainages etc. 

However, a greater responsibility rests with the individuals in keeping the homes and surroundings clean. This will go a long way in preventing mosquitoes from breeding in ones surroundings. Still then dengue carrier mosquitoes can come from miles afar, as such, due precaution needs to be exercised to prevent the bites of mosquitoes by using nets at night and mosquito repellant lotions which is a very effective method of preventing dengue disease.

A cliché, but as the saying goes, prevention is (always) better than cure, for cure will not be required if prevention is done.

(Dr Asangba Tzudir writes a weekly guest editorial for The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to [email protected])