Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.
What are the reasons for increasing vector borne diseases in India? How should India address the rising challenge of vector-borne diseases? Discuss.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Vector borne diseases, Japanese encephalitis
Mains level: Vector borne diseases and its control
- Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Gorakhpur was in controversy after more than 60 children there died earlier this month.
- Regarding the cause of death, the debate shifted back to—Japanese encephalitis (JE)
What is Japanese encephalitis (JE)?
- JE is a viral disease transmitted by the infective bite of the Culex species of mosquitoes.
- The infection can lead to high fever, headache, stiffness in muscles, seizures, coma, and in worst cases, death.
- It primarily affects children because of their weaker immune systems.
- In 2016, Uttar Pradesh (UP) contributed 5% of JE deaths in India.
Factors that influence propagation of Japanese encephalitis (JE)?
- Gorakhpur has a climate that makes it vulnerable to JE.
- 28 degrees Celsius temperature with 50-55% relative humidity is the most appropriate condition for increase in mosquito density.
2.Agricultural and husbandry:
- JE vectors thrive in irrigated paddy fields. Large swathes of land in the district are cultivated for paddy.
- Families that depend on agriculture supplement their income with cattle rearing.
- Pigs and birds are considered to be primary carriers of the JE virus.
3.Urban development and management:
- Culex tritaeniorhynchusand Culex gelidus are two important Culex vectors in India.
- While Culex tritaeniorhynchus was more prevalent in rural areas, Culex geliduswas common in urban areas.
- Gorakhpur has high groundwater tables and the gradient of the city is low to flat, which leads to problems of water logging and flooding.
4.Public health infrastructure:
- There is a shortage of sub-centres and primary health centres in rural areas. More than 81% of Gorakhpur’s population is rural.
1. Address agro-climatic concerns:
- Irrigation technologies like alternate wetting and drying (AWD) methods can help with vector control.
- AWD refers to intermittent drying and re-flooding the rice fields without stressing the plants.
2.Address husbandry practices
- Also, 86% of Gorakhpur’s livestock comprises poultry
- The state government should run campaigns to make citizens aware that pigs and poultry need to be segregated from humans.
3.Address urban development issues
- In Gorakhpur, more than 80% of the rural population defecates in the open.
- Climate change is likely to increase rain events.
- Therefore, flood-resilient housing, solid waste management and sewage treatment should be pursued on priority.
5. Address public health issues
- Immunization is a good strategy but coverage remains low due to low levels of awareness and low availability of vaccines.
- Mosquito population counts should be done for all cities and local entomological knowledge repositories should be maintained to strategize vector control.
6. Intersectoral coordination
- Vector-borne diseases are determined by interrelated social, economic, and environmental factors. This means that health cannot be left to the health sector alone
- It requires intersectoral coordination, cooperation and action. Government departments should work with each other horizontally (inter-ministry cooperation) as well as vertically (at national, regional and local levels)