The wisdom our politicians show often makes us cringe. Disbelief is the only possible reaction to what Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad held forth today.
Azad advocated changing school uniforms of children to full sleeves shirts and full-length trousers to protect them from contracting dengue.
He contended that children are more susceptible to dengue by virtue of their uniforms, which include shorts and half-sleeves' shirts, exposing them more to the risk of mosquito bites leading to dengue. "Therefore, my submission would be that at least for the next two-three months till this thing (anti-dengue efforts) is over, schools should be advised to tell parents to see that their children are fully dressed", he said. He was speaking to reporters after chairing a review meeting over dengue with health ministers of four southern states, besides Puducherry.
Boys were especially prone to mosquito bites as they wore shorts and half-sleeves' shirts, he said. However, it was left to Education Ministers of respective states to issue guidelines but it has been decided children should not be exposed to mosquito bites, he said. This can be a personal protection and even elders can adopt this, he suggested. Decisions taken in today's meeting included involving local bodies more in ensuring cleaner localities and fogging and spraying activities as part of anti-larva efforts to hit at the sources of mosquito-breeding, he said.
Earlier, Azad told the state Ministers and officials that there has been a four-fold increase in the number of dengue cases compared to 2,859 till September last year. There has been a four-fold increase totalling about 12,500 during the corresponding period this year. The Government of India will provide more flexibility to state governments for effective intervention against vector-borne diseases including dengue within the overall framework of NRHM, he said. There will be no shortage of funds for recruitment of trained manpower on contract basis, providing equipment and kits at sentinel and diagnostic centres, he added.
-with PTI inputs