Outbreak and spread of dengue fever exposes underbelly

As the government of Tanzania grapples with the outbreak and spread of the infectious dengue fever — now reported in almost all the regions of the country, it just goes to show how vulnerable we are as a country.

As much as we appreciate the government efforts through the ministry of health, in giving aise and treatment to citizens, it is still quite alarming that more people are still contracting the disease which seems to have acquired a new impetus to spread far and wide.

What needs to be understood is that, with fast and modern transportation system, diseases such as dengue fever can spread quickly across the country proving to be quite hard to contain.

This is where government pro-activeness should have set in, with quarantine orders however minimal to check the spread of the disease. It is no secret that there are whole communities who are yet to understand how the disease is contracted, spread or even treated.

Some agencies have sent out information telling the public to avoid home treatment especially because dengue fever presents with flu-like symptoms. This is because many people tend to treat flu-like symptoms with readily available painkillers such as brufen and diclofenac. These apparently have a contrary effect to a body infected by dengue fever and make treatment difficult. Doctors understand how.

The country was definitely caught unaware by this outbreak, but the fact that the disease has been spreading like wildfire means that not enough has been done to enlighten the public.

Public health is a very crucial component of healthcare since it is here that many of the preventable measures are undertaken and enforced by health workers. Such preventable measures in this instance are like finding and destroying all mosquito breeding grounds, not just standing water but also tall grass near residential homes and sleeping under treated nets.

According to recent scientific writings, diseases such as malaria, TB and HIVAids are not among those that are predicated will kill millions in the future.

The deadliest diseases have been predicated to be all the new flu-like viral infections such as SARS and MERS (the type that has been reported to have killed several people this year in Saudi Arabia) among other infectious and highly contagious diseases.

This is reason enough for the government to take outbreaks such as this if dengue fever serious, and put in major and serious measures to contain its spread as a rehearsal for any eventuality in case a more deadly outbreak was to happen.

Juma KhamisVia E-mail, Dar

South Sudan could have been avoided

Whichever way one looks at it, South Sudan could have been avoided.

A good number of African countries, endowed with natural resources were bogged down by coups, counter-coups and civil war, immediately after Independence because of a number of reasons, ranging from greed, lust for power, nepotism, ethnic intolerance, Western interference, non-democratic policies and bad politics.

South Sudan was not any different when they should have known better.

The tragedy about South Sudan is that it could have been avoided. Not theoretically but from a practical point of view.

First, South Sudan had been embroiled in a vicious and deadly war with Sudan for over two decades, where over a million people had been killed and millions of others displace and scattered in not only neighbouring countries but abroad creating one of the largest diaspora from Africa.

One would have thought that with this background, everyone who was on board during the peace talks that culminated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2001 would have come up with measures to avoid the pitfalls of other African countries by holding the leaders accountable.

The death of charismatic leader John Garang soon after the signing of the peace agreement should have raised the red flag that the politics of the country was about to get fragile.

Charles WaniVia E-mail

SOURCE: The East African