The H1N1 influenza that first created mayhem in 2009 and gripped everyone’s attention back then, is still continuing to haunt many. Only in Maharashtra, swine flu has claimed at least 185 lives. The highest number of 55 swine flu deaths since January this year were registered in Pune. What is more worrying this year is that the pandemic flu has struck in the summer months, moving away from its trend of spreading in winters.
Extreme fluctuations in the temperature is believed to one of the main reasons behind accelerating the infection.
Followed by Pune which had recorded 55 deaths, 26 people have lost their lives in Nashik. Ahmednagar district reported 17 deaths, while Amravati district in Vidarbha region reported eight deaths so far. Buldhana has reported seven deaths, while Akola and Solapur have reported five deaths each.
Parbhani district in Marathwada has reported three H1N1 casualties. Latur, Beed, Sangli and Dhule districts have reported deaths of two persons each due to the disease.
Osmanabad, Jalna, Thane, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Wardha, Washim, Mira Bhayandar municipal corporation (Mumbai suburban district) and Mumbai have reported one death each.
Despite the increasing death toll, why so much ignorance?
Though the government claims to be concerned about the issue, the silence over so many deaths is telling a different tale altogether. On May 19, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis offered ‘Shramdan’ (donated labour) while inspecting the progress of Jalyukt Shivar in Satara district of Maharashtra.
The Chief Minister along with officials was seen lifting stones and putting them at an under construction site as part of the Jalyukt Shivar programme. Symbolic as the move may be, it was intended to get more villagers to dedicate labour to ensure the work gets completed on time ahead of monsoon.
On May 21, Fadnavis decided to digitise all schools across rural and urban Maharashtra by December 2018. However, despite so many deaths in his state, we haven’t seen the CM come out with a strong statement on how his government is planning to tackle the pandemic flu.
Not just Maharashtra govt, even the Centre doesn’t seem concerned!
As per a report in Hindustan Times, most parts of the country are under the grip of swine flu with Maharashtra and the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka worst hit.
Surprisingly, India has witnessed 345 deaths due to swine flu till May 7 this year as compared to 265 deaths in 2016.
As per the World Health Organisation, the country witnessed worst outbreak of the disease in the year 2009-10, when more than 50,000 people were affected.
Time to take measures
Instead of highlighting the ‘non-issues’ it’s time that the government pays some attention towards the menace of swine flu. It can start with an effective programme to sensitise and create awareness about various aspects of the disease. “Presently, the programmes are just for the name sake and aren’t much effective,” said a doctor while speaking to InUth.