Thiruvananthapuram: With the South-West monsoon expected to arrive in Kerala by the first week of June, the state's public health machinery has been put in top gear to cope with the seasonal incidence of communicable diseases, without slackening the COVID-19 containment efforts.
Apart from equipping the network of hospitals under the Department of Health and Family Welfare, down to the primary health centre level, to cope with the situation, public contact and disease surveillance programmes have also been stepped up.
The thrust of the campaign is to make people aware of their critical role in reducing the burden of seasonal communicable diseases through personal and community level activities such as mosquito control, personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and safe drinking water.
V. Meenakshy, Additional Director, Directorate of Health Services, said the ongoing programmes such as Arogya Jagratha, the grassroots-level health awareness project carried out with the support of local self government institutions, have been stepped up.
"The participation of people is a key component of communicable disease control efforts. This is especially important in the prevailing context," said Meenakshy.
"Apart from the motivational efforts, steps are also being taken to ensure that the government hospitals across the state are well-equipped to meet the emerging situation by ensuring that they have sufficient human resources, funds and stock of medicines and equipment," said Meenakshy.
Lending a helping hand to the health workers, workers of the Arogya Sena, a voluntary movement, have started home visits, without compromising social distancing norms, to tell people of the need to keep their homes and surroundings clean.
Another top health professional engaged in the public health domain, Amar Fettle said disease prevention is an important component of any robust public healthcare system as Kerala has always given due emphasis to these activities.
"In the present context, it is possible that many will get confused and become panicky when they develop symptoms of any type of fever. It would be difficult to make out one from the other. The way out is to seek medical aid without waiting," said Fettle.
People must keep their surroundings clean and dry, individually and collectively, so that the immediate environs will not become the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
For the prevention of leptospirosis, a commonly reported ailment caused by bacteria during the monsoon, it is important to keep the home and the neighbourhood free of litters, especially food morsels, which attract rodents.
The Health Department, and special missions under it such as Aardram working to make health services people-friendly, have stepped up their ongoing programmes in this direction.
The social media platforms have also been leveraged in a big way to mount the educative and instructive efforts by them, which have gained considerable traction.