Hyderabad, Hospitals across Telangana continue to be overcrowded with patients, including those with symptoms of dengue, even as the state government remained in a denial mode and has even gagged the private hospitals from giving out the numbers of dengue patients on the pretext of avoiding a health scare.
Hundreds of people suffering from viral fever, malaria and seasonal diseases and also showing dengue symptoms are undergoing treatment at major government-run hospitals and private healthcare facilities in Hyderabad and other parts of the state.
Hyderabad’s Fever Hospital, popularly known as Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Tropical and Communicable Diseases, is teeming with patients including many with suspected dengue symptoms.
A similar situation is seen in Osmania Hospital, Gandhi Hospital, Niloufer Hospital for children and Maternity Hospital Petlaburj — all the major government-run hospitals in Hyderabad which get patients from across the state.
The infrastructure and medical staff are proving inadequate to deal with the huge number of patients. In some hospitals, two patients are being accommodated on one bed. Some patients are also being treated on the floor.
As many as 3,000 cases of dengue were reported in the state during the current month. This has taken the total number of cases reported since January to 4,500.
While unofficially 56 dengue deaths have been reported across the state, the government claims that only one person died of dengue.
It was only two days ago that the health department confirmed the first death due to dengue. A 35-year-old man from Medchal district on the outskirts of Hyderabad died at a private hospital.
Officials said a committee was going through the records to check whether 20 other suspected deaths were due to dengue.
The spurt in dengue cases has sent panic and triggered demands from the opposition for declaring medical emergency.
However, the health authorities have put gag orders on the private hospitals, blaming them for creating a scare by declaring dengue deaths.
A committee comprising senior health department officials were set up to look into the suspected dengue death cases. They are verifying the confirmatory tests done by the hospitals.
The panel was constituted for death audit after allegations that instead of confirming dengue on the basis of MAC-ELISA tests, many hospitals and labs are doing rapid diagnostic tests and giving false positive cases.
Officials made it clear that if a dengue patient suffered from any co-morbid condition such as hypertension, or if MAC-ELISA test is not done, such a case will not be declared as dengue death.
“Of the seasonal fever, 99 per cent cases are of the viral fever and less than one per cent cases of fever reported were diagnosed as dengue and other such fevers,” Health Minister Etela Rajender told the state Legislative Assembly early this week.
He rejected the demand of the opposition parties to declare medical emergency in the state. He slammed them for creating an unnecessary alarm on the issue. “The opposition must stop creating unnecessary fear among the people,” he said.
He urged the opposition to cooperate with the government in checking the spread of the seasonal diseases by sensitising people about the causes of viral fevers and measures to prevent them.
The Health Minister said the government had taken several measures to tackle the current situation. He said the leaves of the doctors have been cancelled.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has taken up measures to control the mosquito menace. As poor sanitation in homes is identified as the main reason for breeding of dengue causing mosquitoes, the authorities are running a public awareness campaign.
The opposition parties, however, have targeted the government for what they call hiding the facts and misleading people. They alleged that there is a shortage of medicine, lack of diagnostic facilities and beds in government hospitals.
“The situation is bad. The government has failed to tackle the situation. There are no proper facilities in government hospitals, while private hospitals are fleecing the poor patients,” said Congress party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka.