Earlier this week, Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan sought details from the state Health ministry on the number of dengue and malaria cases in the state. She also asked about the number of deaths due to dengue so far and the treatment protocol being followed. According to a senior official at Raj Bhavan, the Governor was concerned after reading media reports about a large number of dengue cases being reported from different parts of the state, especially capital city Hyderabad.
“Being a medical practitioner, she has shown interest in this issue and also because of the media reportage. She also understands the subject well and wanted to get an assessment of the situation from the Telangana government,” a Raj Bhavan official told Filter Kaapi.
This is bound to put the Health ministry in a piquant situation given that it is in denial mode about the magnitude of the health crisis. Health minister Eatala Rajender has flatly refused to admit any deaths have taken place due to dengue. Private hospital sources say they are under pressure not to mention dengue as the cause of death while issuing the death certificate. It remains to be seen if the Governor will call the Health ministry officials for clarifications after receiving the report and also forward the details to the Ministry of Home Affairs as part of the Governor’s monthly report to the Centre.
But even the Telangana Health ministry’s own figures are alarming enough. Filter Kaapi had reported that while August reported 780 dengue cases, the first 11 days of September recorded a 300 per cent spike, with 2319 cases. Hospitals and diagnostic labs have been reporting a large number of cases of high fever and many of them are testing positive for dengue.
This is the first such initiative taken by Dr Soundararajan after taking charge as Governor. Given that the Telangana government and its civic agencies have been drawing flak for not being pro-active on sanitation, this move may not please the elected government.
Dr Soundararajan has also convened a meeting of all the Vice-Chancellors of Universities in Telangana on 24 September. By virtue of being the Governor, she is the Chancellor to the state universities. Senior IAS officers were appointed as VCs in July.