What Sri Lanka is doing wrong
According to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, the dengue statistics for 2017 in the island are as follows:
Suspected cases in the last 06 months – 63,987
Cases reported from Western Province – 42.62% approximately
Highest number of cases reported – During the 20th week of 2017
The dengue fever has now reached epidemic levels in Sri Lanka. Major public sector hospitals are struggling to accommodate the influx of patients. Even though the hospitals have enough medication, there is no space or beds available and patients who are already in debilitating pain are now forced to share their bed with two other patients or sleep on the floor. This could actually do more harm than good. It is vital for a patient who has been affected to remain comfortable, rested and stress-free. How is any of the three possible when you are forced to sleep in overcrowded hospital rooms which could potentially suffer hygiene issues too due to the high numbers of patients admitted.
The government has not done much to help eradicate the plague out of the country. Taking a look through the Facebook page of the Ministry of Health, there are no posts related to dengue and its uprise posted recently either. While garbage disposal in Colombo and the outskirts remains dysfunctional, the monsoons have also set in increasing the threat even more.
Social media has not been put to use in handling this crisis very well. The first logical step to take is to create awareness among people on how they can keep their immediate neighborhood clean and protect themselves. There have been press releases done in the country by experts and authorities but social media remains vastly unutilized. If each person on the island were to do this, the cases of dengue fever would see a significant fall. However, there are almost no online campaigns being carried out to at least propel the young generation into taking some action.
Ideally, given a number of patients and that we are facing an island-wide crisis of major dimensions, there should be severe actions taken to remediate the scenario. However, strangely the vast majority of the population remains indifferent to the cause, satisfied to think that this is something which is out of their control.
However, it is time, that at least independent groups, would start to publicize the seriousness of the cause and perhaps start awareness campaigns and stringent measures to try and battle this disease. The Ministry of health needs to use their social media pages optimally to provide people with the accurate information and perhaps even take strict measures such as fumigation, regular checks by PHI and the likes to control this killer disease which has so far claimed at least 160 lives.