Why not address dengue’s root cause, the mosquito?

Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah

Modified 29 Jan 2015, 3:40 am

I refer to a news report in which the health minister accused general practitioners (GPs) of missing 99 percent of dengue diagnosis on the patients’ first visit.

I am a private GP and I received a box of NS1 Test kits from my local Heath Department in late November. Ten kits for free. However, due to the surge in dengue cases, the 10 kits finished very fast.

When I called the Health Department personnel to order a new set of kits, they were delivered only three weeks later. The Health Department personnel apologised to me, saying that they were short of staff as most had been deployed to Kelantan to do flood relief work.

How many dengue cases would I have missed within those three weeks?

All my dengue cases are notified to the district Health Office. However, hardly any patients were followed-up by them. Are we informing them only for statistical purposes or for action as well?

I am highlighting this issue as I feel it is unfair that the minister has blamed the surge in dengue squarly on the general practitioners, suggesting that 99 percent of cases were missed by the general practitioners.

Early diagnosis may help in the prognosis but why not address the root cause that is the mosquito itself? Please come and see the drains right in front of the JKR Quarters in my area in Putrajaya. It has been in a sorry state for the past 10 years.

Drains like these not only encourage mosquito breeding, but floods as well.

DR RAJ KUMAR MAHARAJAH is an executive council member, Malaysian Primary Care Network.

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