Wednesday, Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, urged city dwellers to be vigilant so that roof gardens or flower pots in their homes do not become breeding grounds for dengue carrying Aedes mosquitoes.
He said this addressing the 11th inter-ministerial meeting to review the work of city corporations and other ministries, divisions, departments and agencies with regard to control of mosquito-borne diseases across the country.
The minister also unveiled the publishing of the national guidelines for prevention of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.
The local government minister said rains have started a little early this year compared to other years, the volume is also high, and it is raining intermittently, due to which water is accumulating everywhere. Mosquitoes are breeding in establishments like schools, colleges, madrasas and universities that are closed and cannot be cleaned regularly.
The minister advised people to use mosquito repellent or kerosene oil if they cannot remove water from flower tubs and roof gardens on a regular basis.
Tazul Islam said it's not right or acceptable that a person should die of dengue bitten by the Aedes mosquito because the house next door didn't take proper precautions, while one has kept one's own home mosquito free.
"Every death is tragic. Not a single death can be ignored and not engaging in actively taking steps against the Aedes mosquito is a punishable offense. All of us do not want a single person to die of dengue. Mosquito larvae are found in the homes of many well to do and educated people, which is very sad," he added.
The minister said any company can import effective pesticides and follow the proper procedure for eradication of the Aedes mosquito. These pesticides are in the market and readily available to all.
There are outbreaks of Aedes mosquitoes in areas of the city, he said, adding that instructions have been issued to inform the ministry and city corporations on an urgent basis as soon as dengue patients are admitted to public or private hospitals or clinics.
This, so that as soon as the news is received, it is possible to carry out special operations in and around their homes to contain the dengue outbreak in that area, said Tazul Islam.
He asked the Dhaka Cantonment Board, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Bangladesh Railways to regularly monitor mosquito control and eradication measures being taken.
"We have been informed that mosquito eradication action is underway at and for these organisations," he added.
Replying to a question on whether there are any plans to set up a mosquito control department, the minister said the government is not thinking about anything like that at present.
However, he did say that work is underway to set up a "Vector Management Cell" to control the spread and prevention of various infectious diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, zika, filariasis, malaria, and black fever.
"We have started working on integrated vector management to control Aedes mosquito and dengue outbreaks not only in the capital or metropolitan areas, but also in remote rural areas of the country," he added.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Md Atiqul Islam, South City Corporation Mayor, Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, and Gazipur Mayor, Md Jahangir Alam, attended the meeting.
Senior secretary to the Local Government Department, the housing and public works secretary, health secretary, the SDG coordinator to the prime minister's office, and other officers from ministries, divisions, departments and agencies concerned, were also present at the meeting.