Original post 18 April 2008
[Comment: Turn the clock to May 2022 & it’s no different!]
This is probably the topic that I have written most often about in recent times. Yet again, I am compelled to write about mosquitoes and their potential to cause ill health in this country.
After the recent rainfall, as expected, there is a definite increase in the number of mosquitoes buzzing around and biting us to spread illnesses such as Dengue Fever. This is a huge concern for health care workers like myself. I am in no doubt that this concern is shared by many others. We all know how deadly an illness Dengue can be in its severe form.
I was at work (at IGMH) the other day when I couldn’t help but complain about the number of times I was bitten by mosquitoes while seeing patients in OPD. I get terrible reactions to mosquito bites; with very rapid appearance of a severe Urticarial rash. A dozen or so mosquitoes were in a feeding frenzy within that single room. I along with the patients who had come to see me were at the mercy of these air-borne pests.
I realize that the whole of Male’, and probably the rest of the country, is experiencing a resurgence of the mosquito menace. But, for the mosquitoes to be present in such large numbers in the one place where they could readily feed on people with mosquito borne illnesses (such as Dengue) is a serious concern. These hospital premises are fast becoming the prime location where Aedes mosquitoes are spreading the Dengue virus.
Where the mosquitoes are coming from, I am not so sure. But the fact that they are indeed there is as certain as these really itchy wheals on my arms. It is a very likely possibility that some of these mosquitoes are coming from outside of IGMH, probably from the several construction sites around the hospital. However, I suspect that a significant number of them are born and bred within the hospital premises!
There are so many water logged areas within the hospital premises, not least the roofing and the roof drainage system. The terraces are also water-logged for several days after the rain ceases. It probably is my ignorance, but I really don’t see anyone putting in an effort to clear up the potential breeding areas within the hospital.
It is quite probable that any such effort restricted to the hospital alone would be, on its own, of no significant impact to the mosquito population. Nonetheless, I believe that such an effort is needed as soon as possible. IGMH could begin the work and urge the community and other responsible bodies to revive the mosquito control program.
I don’t see any logic in waiting for the mosquito menace to cause an epidemic, as happens every year, before we launch a preventive health campaign. If we wait even a bit longer, the epidemic may soon begin. Or has it already!