In the five zones, only three entomologists are appointed while two spots lie vacant. In effect, three entomologists must insulate an 80-lakh population against the onslaught of monsoon-related diseases.
Even as the Health and Sanitation Wing of the GHMC is preoccupied with the CBD-COB 11, the Entomology Department continues to function without adequate medical officials, leaving the citizens to the mercy of malaria and other debilitating diseases.
Of the five zones, only three entomologists are appointed while two are vacant. In effect, three entomologists must insulate an 80 lakh population against the onslaught of monsoon-related diseases. Ironically, the corporation spends around `27-28 crore on anti-larvae, anti- mosquito operations every year, of which Rs24 crore goes towards payment of wages to the employees!
According to the senior officials in health, the senior entomologists are deputed from the medical and health department. “The medical department will send the officials to GHMC subject to availability. Sometimes there is shortage of availability from the parent organisation, which deputes the officials,” says one senior official.
Generally believed to be a position of promotion and prestige, deputed officials spend their last few years in service in the department as a token appearance before retirement. This being one of the reasons, even if the senior officials sincerely try to focus on improving the efficiency, they may fail to get support from the lower cadre, who have been working for years.
Another reason cited by the official, is that this being a technical post, there is always a shortage of senior entomologists, as they are sent to ‘tribal areas’. “As there is more incidence of malaria in tribal areas than in the City, most of the experts are sent there,” says the official.
However, for people who see their tax money being spent in fogging, the efforts don’t seem worth the crores of rupees being spent. “At a time when we have made so many scientific and technological advancements, the GHMC is still experimenting with measures to control the mosquito menace,” says Narsing Rao of SR Nagar.
However, Dr Shalini Devi, CMOH (chief medical officer of health) expressed no surprise as each AMOH was handling two circles at a time. “There is a paucity of qualified candidates to hold the post for these services. Several of these position remain vacant,” she said. She said that the officials like senior entomologists are sent on deputation by the director of Public Health and Family welfare.
> Anti larvae operations (ALO) has 42 groups, where each group comprises of seven and 15 supervisors head these groups.
> Fogging programme consists of nine groups and four supervisors.
> Special programmes are also taken up where pesticides are sprayed in ponds, nallas and large stagnant water bodies, headed by five supervisors and 14 groups.
What is entomology?
Entomology is the scientific study of insects and is a branch of arthropodology. The professional is called an entomologist. The branch covers the study of arachnids as well apart from house flies, mosquitoes and other bugs.