What’s the best way to combat dengue? Prevention is better than cure, but how can we prevent the spread of the disease?
In the Pakistani province of Sindh, the regional government has taken a hard line against dengue. Last year it introduced its Sindh Prevention and Control of Dengue Regulation 2013, which obliges everyone – from public officials to ordinary members of the public – to take responsibility for dengue. Failure to comply with the legislation can result in severe penalties.
It’s a radical approach, driven by concern over nearly 5,000 cases of dengue reported in the province during 2013. But is the threat of legal action enough to make people use insecticide or empty pots that could turn into mosquito breeding grounds. Will fear of a fine make doctors report suspected dengue cases within an hour?
Sindh is not the only province to use legislation to fight dengue: Punjab province takes its anti-dengue regulation so seriously that failure to comply with it is a non-bailable offence.
It’s a trend that can be seen all over the world: in Venezuela, there are calls to fine hospitals that fail to report cases of dengue. In 2012, Sri Lanka’s government introduced the National Dengue Prevention Act, although its critics claim that it doesn’t go far enough.
It’s hoped that the law can prove a powerful tool to combat dengue. But while legislation is important, can it really work without also educating people about dengue?
What do you think?