Hyderabad: Ninety per cent of Hyderabadis are not aware that Friday is a Dry Day, a measure for controlling aedes aegypti mosquitoes that bite in the daytime. In a random survey of residential welfare associations, professionals, educationists, senior citizens and other members of the community, most were not aware that the municipal corporation has been advocating such a practice.
Most people when asked if they were aware of 'Friday as dry day', thought it was to do with not selling alcohol, rather than the day set aside for getting rid of stagnant water in their premises.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has been talking about this concept through various mediums such as jingles, audio messages and videos, but is has not had the desired effect.
Residents of Secunderabad, Uppal, Tarnaka, Kukatpally, Qutubullapur, Somajiguda, Begumpet, Tirmulgerry, Kompally, Alwal, Tank Bund, Tolichowki, Mehdipatnam, Balanagar, Yusufguda, Ameerpet, Miyapur, Gachibowli where the survey was carried out had not heard of the dry day but wanted to know more about mosquitoes and measures to control them as this year’s dengue outbreak has alerted everyone.
The entomology department’s field staff sprays chemicals in open areas and merely sticks posters on the gate of colonies and other housing complexes. But they come between 11 am and noon when most people are at work.
With cases of dengue being widespread across all localities, and resulting in death in some cases, it is pertinent to question the effectiveness of the awareness campaign carried out year after year, which seems to have had no effect. Why has it failed to register with the people? Why has it not been effective?
B Srinivas of the Malkajgiri Residents’ Association said, "We know that in the rainy season once in a week we must dry all the water containers, flower pot trays and also not keep coconut shells around the house as they collect water. Hence each one of us according to our convenience observes the dry day process."
But only 10 per cent of those surveyed were as knowledgeable as Mr Srinivas. Most respondents stated that they are conscious of water stagnation outside homes, in and around the apartment premises, and on the roads. Whenever such conditions are observed a hue and cry is raised by residents’ association for action from the GHMC.
M B Raju, a pharmacist, says that the spread of dengue this year shows that the messages of awareness are not taken seriously by the people. “They must have a strong and effective communication programme so that people know exactly what they are supposed to do to control day time mosquitoes," Mr Raju said.
It was hoped that videos and photographs of minister K T Rama Rao going around his home checking flower pots, water body and corners of grass would make a difference. Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan and his wife spraying oil in flower pots and checking around their home has also failed to register much. People have watched it but are not sure what exactly they must do....