Delhi doctors fall to dengue, chikungunya as cases soar

New Delhi: As dengue and chikungunya cases continue to soar, affecting hundreds in the national capital, many doctors in the city hospitals have also fallen prey to the vector-borne diseases.

Authorities told IANS on Thursday that they are witnessing a shortage of staff as many doctors, including senior faculty members in many hospitals, have tested positive for dengue and chikungunya, keeping them from discharging their duties.

In a review meeting, Union Cabinet Secretary P.K Sinha on Thursday asked all stake holders in both the Centre and Delhi government to take action for the prevention and management of the vector borne diseases.

He said that more public awareness programmes should be run and availability of medicines ensured.

In a meeting with the health authorities, Centre, State and Municipal corporations, Sinha asked the bodies to intensively use the helpline facilities started for dengue and chikungunya cases in the national capital and the adjoining areas.

"I hope that the residents will also participate by taking necessary preventive measures by maintaining cleanliness and the local bodies will use necessary increased fogging in the area," said a statement quoting Sinha.

The authorities were informed that there was no scarcity of dengue testing kits, as reported by a few media houses.

According to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which monitors the number of dengue and chikungunya cases across Delhi, a total of 487 cases of dengue and 432 cases of chikungunya have been reported in the national capital till August 27.

While North Delhi has recorded the highest number of dengue cases at 98, South Delhi has recorded the highest number of chikungunya with 25.

Even doctors have fallen victim to the vector-borne diseases, leading to staff crunch in the city hospitals.

According to government-run Safdarjung Hospital, over 10 senior faculty members have tested positive for chikungunya, while at least 25 junior doctors, including senior and junior residents, are suffering from chikungunya and dengue.

Notably, Safdarjung already has a staff shortage of over 30 per cent.

"A good number of our doctors are badly suffering from chikungunya and dengue, including senior faculty members and resident doctors. While a few of them are admitted to hospital, many are on leave and undergoing treatment at home as the dengue wards are flooded with patients and there is no space," A.K. Rai, Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, told IANS.

Among the hospitals whose doctors have fallen prey to chikungunya and dengue include Ganga Ram Hospital with 20 doctors suffering from chikungunya and dengue, while Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital has over 35 of its doctors suffering from the vector borne diseases.

Medical Superintendent of City based Ambedkar Hospital Punita Mahajan said that 10 percent of the hospital doctors are suffering from fever, a major symptom of dengue and chikungunya.