Bengal government pressurising path labs, doctors to play down dengue outbreak: CPI-M

Kolkata, Oct 13 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Friday expressed “deep concern” over the “massive deterioration” in the dengue outbreak in West Bengal and accused the state government of attempts to cover up the “virtually epidemic like situation” by suppressing the number of affected and dead.

“We are deeply concerned over the massive deterioration in the dengue outbreak in the state. Due to the state government’s indifference, a virtually epidemic like situation has arisen,” CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said in a statement.

While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday put the number of dengue deaths at 24 over the past seven-eight months, Mishra claimed more than 50 people have perished from the virus-borne disease in north 24 Parganas district alone.

According to him, the death count has crossed 24 in the tea gardens of North Bengal, while news of many people dying from the disease has come from Kolkata and its adjoining districts.

“But we are stunned to find that instead of properly attending to the disease, the state government is ignoring it, and suppressing the number of patients and deaths to camouflage the real situation.”

Refering to Banerjee’s allegation that some private laboratories were misguiding patients and creating panic, Mishra said “her comments are totally divorced from the real situation”.

He charged the state government with pressurising private pathological laboratories not to give reports of “dengue attacks”. “Due to the severity of the situation the state government is even putting pressure on the doctors to cover up the administrative failures.”

“Due to an unwritten directive from the government, doctors in government hospitals are not mentioning dengue in death certificates even in cases where the disease claimed the lives of patients. The situation is getting complicated and grave because of this attitude of the government, which should have instead gone all out to tackle the situation,” the former state Health Minister said.

He alleged that Banerjee and her administration had in a number of cases documented dengue fatalities as deaths from “unknown fever”.

The CPI-M leader appealed to his party cadres to stand by the dengue afflicted in all localities, and help in their treatment, while carrying out an awareness campaign among the people.

“Initiatives need to be taken for voluntary blood donation and ensuring cleanliness. At the same time, one has to protest against the state government’s efforts to hide the real situation and negligence in treatment,” Mishra added.

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