Effective awareness campaigns and more readily-available medical facilities should be prioritized
Dengue has always been treated as a bit of a minor issue in the country – which has always been a mistake, simply because it is a disease that, with the right plan of action, is mostly preventable.
Yet, we have chosen to be nonchalant towards it, and since 2019, dengue has only gotten worse and worse, culminating in 2023 when it has now claimed over 1,000 lives — with three months still remaining this year.
And while those are the official numbers, we are left wondering just how many in rural Bangladesh are suffering or even dying from the disease that simply does not show up on official counts.
To that we ask: How did this happen? Ever since the 2019 outbreak which saw 179 deaths, there have been repeated calls to have a more pro-active approach to fighting dengue.
Instead, what has often been seen are reactive measures such as mosquito repellents and insecticides which, beyond appearing to be mostly ineffective, have had a significantly detrimental effect on our already fragile environment.
At this stage, there is no telling when this dengue epidemic in Bangladesh will be brought under control — and people are paying for this inaction with their lives and untold suffering.
It is plain to see that we need a better approach to fighting dengue, and that approach must start from thinking about prevention rather than cure.
While we are happy to learn of the dengue vaccine that is in development, and we hope that this will be the long-term solution to eliminating this disease once and for all, for now, the authorities concerned must do a far better job of protecting everyday citizens from suffering.
Moving forward, effective awareness campaigns and more readily-available medical facilities should be prioritized. For an economy with the lofty ambitions Bangladesh has, this failure to address dengue simply will not do.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.