However much one may strive unless we rid breeding places of the mosquitoes, the anti-dengue measures are likely to fail. Fining, threatening, fogging and cleaning the drains in the lanes are all secondary. Until and unless the households recognize this fact no amount of these measures are likely to succeed.

First of all, the housewives must be convinced that these measures need to be done to prevent their own kith and kin from dengue. Others, the country and all come second. When this important factor is driven into the minds of people, they will not only do the cleaning willingly but thoroughly too.

For this, daily reminders must be given to the people, mainly the mothers. Daily, this fact must be mentioned in the radio talks, TV talks and it must be in every newspaper, on the first page as a red warning. The areas in which dengue have been detected must be publicized on TV, radio and newspapers daily. These areas must be declared as red alert areas and the people must be given extra warning to protect their own people by cleaning up. Stickers must be seen on the three-wheelers, cars and bathroom mirrors.

The mosquitoes breed in water for about 10 – 12 days, therefore, once a week a day must be declared as cleaning day throughout the nation.

The mothers must be given a checklist with the following emphasized:

l Keep gutters clean and unclogged.

l Keep water tanks covered. Make sure the cisterns of the commodes are covered or checked routinely for mosquito eggs.

l Drill holes in the bottom of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors.
l Walk around your property after a rain, and soon after watering and look for areas in the landscape that are not draining well, pots having stagnant water, plants holding water.
l Ornamental ponds should be aerated to keep water moving or the ponds must be stocked with mosquito-eating fish. Birdbaths to be cleaned every three to five days
l Clean anything that holds water twice per week, e.g., the tray under the fridge, bird baths, vases, etc.

l Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use.

l All garbage like coconut shells, polythene bags, fish tins, rambutan skin, etc. to be put into covered containers, not thrown outside. Ideally every household must be provided with a compost bin so that they can put these things straight into them, not only to prevent dengue, but also as a money spinning venture by producing compost.

Other precautions:
Close doors and windows by 5pm,
Wear long-sleeved dresses and pants /long skirts,
Use mosquito nets/coils, mats, liquid, etc,
Betel leaf paste to be kept in the bedrooms, study rooms,
Mosquito repellant plants – maduruthala, sera, vinka, etc to be planted in every possible nook and corner of the houses.

Lava traps to be set up in every house.

Actually, though the list seems long, the practicality does not take much effort. If only we start thinking in planned way sensibly, rather than unplanned ad hoc, methods, certainly we can eradicate dengue in no time.
Don’t we all know that when you fail to plan, you plan to fail?
Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai