It is simply astounding to learn that none of the 12 city corporations have entomologists on their payroll with the posts for such specialists in Dhaka city corporations lying vacant. Without entomologists, whose job is to research vector-borne diseases, we question the efficacy of the plans being undertaken by city authorities to contain the nationwide outbreak of dengue that has seen a rise of infected persons. The hospitals can no longer cope with the estimated 60,000 people who have fallen sick and unfortunately, as it has turned out, it is not only the city corporations that have no entomologists. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) that is engaged in studying different species of mosquitoes, has vacant posts for entomologist, assistant entomologist and entomology technician—these have been vacant for the last 25 years.
In the midst of all this, we understand that the DGHS promoted 11 entomology technicians to the posts of entomologists despite the fact that they are unqualified for the positions! Experts state that technicians do not have a master’s degree on entomology and hence lack both the education and the requisite training to do the job of an entomologist. These so-called quick fixes will do little to improve the public health hazard that has gripped the nation. It is hard to understand why there is such indifference to something as vital as fighting deadly diseases like dengue.
Unless health policymakers wake up to ground realities that we require scientists, like entomologists, to be recruited and staffed in our city corporations and DGHS to study the disease and its vectors to find the best way to fight them, the dengue situation will only get worse. The disease is out of control and we need action now and every day we waste mulling over the next course of action, more people are getting sick and some are dying.