Psychiatric counselling given to victims of Cyclone Gaja

Chennai: If it is monsoon, water and vector-borne diseases are the most expected outbreaks. However, with Cyclone Gaja devastating the delta districts, the officials state that there has not been many dengue and swine flu cases in the affected districts.

Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Director, Dr K Kolandaswamy, told News Today, “Proactive measures have been taken to ensure swine flu and dengue are kept at bay. Extensive water chlorination is being done to prevent the water and vectors-carrying mosquitoes breeding post the cataclysmic cyclone.”

“The intensive efforts have paid off by bringing down even regular flu cases. In health camps, we are monitoring for diarrhoea, fever and injury. In addition, we receive patients with other conditions of cardiac, diabetes, hypertension or arthritis problems. The districts are totally outbreak-free,” he added.

A total of 9,035 health camps have been set up from the day the cyclone made its landfall in the districts on 15 November. It comprises 1,002 static and 8,033 mobile centres through which a population of around 5,85,383 benefitted.

On the commonly reported cases, Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine health officer, Dr Prakash, stated, “Injuries and patients with chronic ailments who could not access the public health centres attended the health camps.”

A doctor who held camps in Pudukottai said, “There has not been a major outbreak in this region but one or two isolated cases have been reported.”

Corroborating it is the deputy director of Health Services from Pudukottai, who said there were a few incidences of fever but not dengue and swine flu as preventive aspects were well taken care of.

However, Doctors Association for Social Equality general secretary, Dr G R Ravindranath, sounds skeptical. “Sure, there should be at least minimal outbreak of dengue and swine flu, for the patients are accommodated in relief shelters that are congested and easily communicable. It should also be noted that the immunity levels of the victims would not be so high to prevent contraction of health conditions.”

As most of the assets and lives were lost, psychiatric counselling is also being provided to the victims of Cyclone Gaja by the Department of Medical and Rural Health Services.

It should also be noted that a team from Kilpauk Medical College, Chennai, led by dean, Dr P Vasanthamani, had donated relief materials over Rs 10 lakh and organised a medical camp in a district on Sunday.


From early this year till date, the number of those who contracted swine flu and dengue stands at 2,077 and 3,706, respectively.


AWARE, a Chennai-based non-governmental organisation, has pitched in to provide psycho-social support for the victims in the districts of Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur. “In partnership with the social work department of Madras School of Social Work, we have sent 28 counsellors to the regions to counsel till Sunday,” said Sandhiyan Thilagavathy, founder, AWARE which stands for Awareness for Wo+men to Advocate their Rights and Equality.

Bhavani Prabhakar