Health workers in the war against dengue fever

October 07, 2019 - 07:25

Working in the scorching heat of the summer, Công Đình Nguyên, a medical worker in Hà Nội’s Đống Đa District, removes the chemical tank from his back to rest for a while.


Health workers of Đống Đa District's Health Centre prepare chemical sprayers to kill mosquitoes and prevent dengue fever. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Working in the scorching heat of the summer, Công Đình Nguyên, a medical worker in Hà Nội’s Đống Đa District, removes the chemical tank from his back to rest for a while.

"During the summer months, we work at full capacity without days off, including Saturdays and Sundays," he told Kinh Tế&Đô Thị (Economy and Urban Affairs) newspaper.

Nguyên, head of the disease control team at Đống Đa Health Centre, said the capital city had seen dengue fever cases since the beginning of the year, so the health centre had to prepare preventive measures.

Since April, cases have increased rapidly nationwide and health workers were very busy, he said.

More than 2,580 cases of dengue fever have been reported in the first eight months of this year, the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control said.

Dengue fever occurs all year round in Việt Nam, but the peak period is during the rainy season – April through October in the north, and June through December in the south.

"Normally, I only work in office hours, but in these months, I have to work overtime. Recently, I rarely have meals with my family. I return home when my parents are already asleep," Nguyên said.

There are many hospitals in Đống Đa District. Information on cases of dengue fever at hospitals is sent to the district's medical centre. The centre will then confirm the address of each case and health workers are assigned to spray chemicals to kill mosquitoes in a 100m radius around the patient's house.

Phan Quỳnh Liên, a resident in Đống Đa District, one of the hotspots for the disease, said in peak season, every household in her neighbourhood received a leaflet from the local ward's People’s Committee on preventive measures such as killing mosquito larvae and minimising standing water, as well as cleaning both inside and outside the house.

The sheet also advises residents to go to a medical centre or hospital immediately if you have a fever.

“The warning is part of a nationwide war against dengue fever. It is just a leaflet to encourage residents to help fight the disease,” Liên said.

But not everyone is aware of this.

Nguyễn Thành Công, Nguyên's colleague, said they often told local households before they were going to visit and spray chemicals. Some households asked the health workers to spray chemicals at 6am because they did not want to be late for work, or in some cases they refused to allow the workers in.

Some residents got frustrated with advice to turn water containers upside down when not in use.

In peak season, the medical workers had to start work at 5am and each worker had to spray about 40 houses in the morning, said Lương Xuân Thủy, a health worker.

“Wearing a 20kg tank, climbing all over high buildings or houses takes a lot of energy. The work goes well if we receive help from local residents. If not we have to come back another day," Thủy said.

This job also means constant exposure to chemicals.

Thủy's family advised him to find another job. But to earn a living and help the community eliminate the disease, he continues to work.

 “Every job has its hardships. If everyone refuses to do this job, who will?” he said.

They still have to strengthen efforts in killing mosquitoes and larvae, and continue to teach residents how to prevent dengue fever, said Nguyễn Đức Tuấn, director of Đống Đa Health Centre.

The joint efforts by people as well as responsibility for disease prevention are key factors to curb dengue fever, according to Tuấn.

"I hope the epidemic will soon be eliminated so people are less worried and we will be less busy,” said Nguyên. — VNS


A medical worker instructs local residents on how to prevent dengue mosquitoes from proliferating. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc