At a time when Delhi is ramping up the drive against mosquito breeding to combat the uptick in dengue cases, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation is running abysmally low on larvicide and insecticides needed to control vector populations, a status report from the civic body has said.
The report, filed by the public health department on October 21, shows that the corporation has run out of several insecticides used in anti-mosquito drives. According to the report, the civic body uses seven types of insecticides — diflubenzuron, BTI, mosquito larvicidal oil (MLO), alpha-cypermethrin, cyphenothrin, temephos granules, and malathion technical — for its mosquito control measures. Of these, the corporation has no more stocks of diflubenzuron, BTI, mosquito larvicidal oil (MLO), alpha-cypermethrin, the report said. Even the three insecticides available with the corporation are fast depleting, with only 20kg of temephos granules, 890kg of cyphenothrin and 500 kilos of malathion technical left, the report stated.
According to a civic report on vector-borne diseases, released this Monday, Delhi recorded one dengue death and 723 dengue cases till October 16, 2021, which is the highest count the city has seen since 2018.
Of the 723 dengue cases, the north corporation has registered 166 cases till the week ending October 16, which is the highest the municipality has seen in the last four years. The civic body had 109 dengue cases during the corresponding period in 2020, 60 cases in 2019, and 62 cases in 2018.
Data submitted by the public health department shows that since April 2021, diflubenzuron stock has gone down from 5,500kg to nil, BTI from 2,100kg to nil, and MLO from 6090kg to nil while cyphenothrin stock has reduced from 2,330kg to 890kg.
A senior public health official said these insecticides are used to kill larvae and adult mosquitoes in various stages of development by mixing the chemicals in stagnant water and spraying them in high mosquito density areas using sprinklers and fogging machines.
“While insecticides like diflubenzuron, BTI and MLO are used as larvicides (in water), a pyrethroid insecticide agents like alpha-cypermethrin are mixed with petrol/diesel and then sprayed through high pressure nozzles to create “the fog” during the fogging drives,” the official said, asking not to be named.
The public health department said it is trying to procure the insecticides and the tender process is currently on. “In case of diflubenzuron, the testing of the drug is being carried out and the results are expected in the next couple of days,” the department said in a report to the house.
Jogi Ram Jain, standing committee chairman, north corporation, said anti-mosquito drives have not been affected so far as the zonal level staff have enough insecticides. “The matter has been duly noted by us. The figures represent the situation of the central stock. We can continue the drives for another two weeks with locally available chemicals. The anti-mosquito drives will not be affected by any shortage,” he said.
Vikas Goel, leader of the opposition, however, said drives have been affected at the local level due to shortage of insecticides. “The corporation is facing a shortage of drugs and insecticides while officials keep saying that the matter is under process. Why is the tendering process being carried out now when dengue cases are on rise? This should have been done in April,” Goel said.
He alleged that a similar shortage is being faced in the case of basic medicines such as paracetamol tablets as well. But the hospital administration report states that the medicine stocks are adequate to serve its hospitals, dispensaries and clinics. According to the report, the north corporation has a stock of 8,900 chloroquine tablets, 500 chloroquine syrup units, 1,095 paracetamol injections and 350 paracetamol tablets.
This stock is meant for the north corporation’s five major hospitals of Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Hospital, Rajan Babu Hospital, MVID hospital, and Girdharilal Hospital as well as its dispensaries and clinics, officials said.
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