Editorial: Prevention is cure

Amid reports that dengue has risen its ugly head in Chennai and a few other parts of Tamilnadu, the Madras High Court has issued notices to the State government as well as Greater Chennai Corporation, asking officials to spell out dengue control measures. The direction was passed on a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to pay Rs 10 lakh each to the families of all those who had died due to dengue besides providing free and immediate treatment for dengue patients in private hospitals of their choice. A division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice N Seshasayee passed the interim order on the PIL moved by advocate A P Suryaprakasam.

In his petition, the advocate said the State has already lost three children to dengue and despite such alarming situation, the authorities seem yet to wake up from deep slumber. He said large number of vacancies that exists in the health department, particularly in primary health centres, sanitary and health centres, sanitary and health inspector posts as the reason for such situation. Urging an immediate direction to the government to fill up the vacancies, Suryaprakasam demanded the State government to provide Rs 10 lakh compensation to families of children who died of dengue. He pointed out that the Corporation was also responsible for breeding of mosquitoes by turning a blind eye to unclaimed and abandoned vehicles parked on roadsides for years together.

After hearing his plea, the judges sought the response of the government as well as the Corporation by 15 October. They also urged for the need for people to have greater civic sense, ensure that their surroundings were kept clean and hygienic in order to avoid spread of such epidemics and not to litter around in common public spaces. ‘There cannot be absolute insulation from any illness. The Society too has to cooperate with the establishment. Citizens alone have to keep their surroundings clean, only an aberration can be rectified by the authorities,’ the court said. At the same time, the judges also pulled up the civic officials. With rainy season fast approaching, it is the duty of all stakeholders to take preventive measures to curb illnesses like dengue.

NT Bureau