Despite claiming to control Aedes mosquitoes, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) are yet to make any significant progress due to substandard mosquito repellent
There is a wide allegation that both Dhaka city corporations cannot get quality mosquito repellent as a medicine syndicate has been forcing them to buy substandard mosquito repellent over the years.
Despite claiming to control Aedes mosquitoes, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) are yet to make any significant progress due to substandard mosquito repellent.
“It is quite unethical that only two companies can import the medicine,” said DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam, expressing frustration against the mosquito repellent importing syndicate.
He made the remarks during an interaction with the editors of newspapers, online news portals and television channels at the Gulshan Club on Monday.
He said people were blaming the city corporations due to the fault of these two companies as their medicines do not work.
Atiqul said: “I have already black-listed one company and will break the syndicate of the medicine importers.”
He stated that DNCC will start importing the mosquito repellent on its own very soon. “We have already fixed the supplier, but we are not sure when we will be able to import these medicines.”
According to the mayor, The Limit Agroproducts Limited and Nokon Mosquito Insecticide used to supply mosquito repellent medicines to DNCC.
After being elected as mayor, Atiqul suspended Limit Agroproducts Limited’s registration for one year for supplying below par medicine.
Zakir Hossain, DNCC’s chief store keeper who is responsible for purchasing the medicine, said that DNCC tested Limit Agroproducts Limited’s medicine thrice and each time they found that the medicine could not kill mosquitoes or mosquito larvae effectively.
He said: “In the three tests, the medicine killed 2%, 18% and 50% mosquitoes respectively, whereas, a good quality medicine kills at least 90% mosquitoes.”
Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), and Plant Protection Wing of the Agricultural Ministry conducted the tests.
Doctors blame syndicate too
DNCC is still using medicines supplied by Nokon Mosquito Insecticide, however, Atiqul admitted that this medicine was also not up to the mark and now they were using this medicine in higher doses.
DSCC Chief Health Officer Brig Gen Dr Md Shahrif Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune that DSCC also buys mosquito larvae destroying medicine from Dockyard and Engineering Works Limited, Narayanganj (DEW Ltd), a sister concern of the Bangladesh Navy.
Though DSCC officials claimed that their medicine was working properly against Aedes mosquitoes, but an International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b) report unveiled that medicines used by both city corporations cannot kill mosquitoes, especially, Aedes mosquitoes which carry the dengue virus.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, several leaders of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (Swachip) and Bangladesh Medical Association blamed the syndicate of importing medicines, claiming that there was a strong possibility of providing low quality medicines when only few companies import them.
A top Swachip leader, requesting anonymity, said the syndicate imported low quality medicines and forced the city corporations to buy them at high prices as they have no other options.
According to sources, DSCC bought medicine worth Tk17.5 crore and DNCC worth Tk18 crore in the past year.
As medicines fail to kill the mosquitoes, DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon decided to distribute aerosol sprays at the educational institutes in the city area, free of cost, in a bid to protect students from mosquito bites and dengue.
Khokon said: “I hope we will be able to get rid of the situation immediately.”
After considering reports from several stakeholders that the current mosquito repellents are not working, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked DNCC and DSCC to buy new medicine from renowned foreign companies as soon as possible.
The PMO has ordered the two city corporations to give registration to five foreign companies and ensure import proceedings within three days, said DSCC official Shahrif.
He said: “Decision has been taken to buy new medicine within three days. New medicines will be used after they are imported.”