Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 13 June 2024 7.24 AM IST

Kerala's health sector faces crisis amidst rising epidemics


Health is absence of disease. Therefore, it cannot be claimed that Kerala's health sector is currently in a state of complete well-being. Several epidemics and deadly diseases have been threatening the northern districts of the state for weeks. West Nile fever, jaundice, dengue fever, amoebic encephalitis and many others have led to hospitalizations for communicable and non-communicable diseases. Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Thrissur districts are the most affected. Additionally, common non-threatening diseases such as viral fevers, diarrhea, and eye problems, typical during the transition from summer to rainy season, are prevalent. This is not an isolated occurrence; experience shows that many diseases become increasingly dangerous each year.

Dengue fever, for example, is fatal due to dangerously low platelet levels in the blood. Notably, the rate of platelet depletion in dengue cases this time is surprisingly high, posing a grave danger to patients even before platelet-increasing drugs can be administered. Amoebic meningitis, confirmed recently in Malappuram, is also a serious concern. While five children were hospitalized with suspected amoebic meningitis, only one case was confirmed and the child's condition remains critical. West Nile fever, another threat, is mosquito-borne and awaits the mosquito season with the continuation of summer rains and the onset of monsoon. With various diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, malaria, Zika and yellow fever transmitted by mosquitoes, the breeding grounds for mosquitoes will expand with the emergence of water bodies during the monsoon season.

Preventive measures, such as preventing water stagnation and improving waste disposal to inhibit mosquito breeding, are essential. However, the current state of these preventive measures is lacking, exacerbating the imminent danger. It is imperative for the health department to intensify vigilance, raise public awareness and implement preventive measures. As the monsoon season approaches, hospitals, already overwhelmed with various diseases will face further strain. The availability of essential medicines in government hospitals is also a concern. While consultations and official meetings are beneficial, swift and efficient action is crucial. It is imperative for departments to prioritize immediate precautions and ensure the availability of essential medicines before the onset of the monsoon season, without wasting time on blame games.

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