No doubt, for a government it is always easy to seek public assistance to curb certain situations. Be it tracking down the perpetrators of a killing or netting the robbers who broke into the National Museum, the help of the public is amply sought.
The same is true with the dengue epidemic prevailing in the country, which has compelled the government to prick the public in the eye with warnings and statistics. Perhaps, holding people accountable for issues of national importance may always do the trick. Yet, the question remains whether people’s vigilance alone can put things right. Does this also give people the power to hold the authorities accountable in return?
It goes without saying that educating people and alerting them on glaring dangers are crucial for the wellbeing of the country. It is also important that their vigilance is directed along the right path in taking preventive measures against the spread of dengue. As the case stands, a weekend newspaper went on to report that a few government institutions have been contributing to the spread the disease by breeding mosquitoes in their premises!
Clearly, these are fences the public is not allowed to cross.
Another news report revealed that out of the 12 ministries that were armed with the duty of dengue eradication, only two have been properly fulfilling the task. At any rate, it should not be taken lightly that the rest of the ministries have been slacking and bluffing at the expense of people’s lives. Hence, the question as to why the higher authorities that monitor the work of these ministries allowed lethargy needs to be answered.
14, 500 dengue patients and 80 deaths for the last five months are no forgivable numbers.
Those who only worry about the good looks of Colombo need to pay more attention on the actual cleanliness and proper garbage disposal in the city. Allocating huge monies on decoration may serve little purpose if the heart of the city still houses mosquito-breeding places. Educating, urging and fining people alone would not help keep dengue at bay if the authorities continue to show their sleepy-faces to the people for their own convenience. This lack of action on their part, automatically takes away their authority to instruct the public on preventive methods. Examples, whether bad or good, are intended to be followed when they are set by the state authorities. This however should not be the trend of dengue eradication in the country.
It is commendable that the government has taken many initiatives to eradicate dengue islandwide. But, even a thousand such programmes might not do, if their progress is not closely monitored.
Dengue eradication should not be seasonal. One should not wait till the hype builds up to clean one's backyard or office premises. Prevention, be it dengue or any other epidemic, should be constant; because, death is neither seasonal nor reversible.