Ding-dong Dengue Battle
Dr. Mass R. USUF
"Dengue fever (and even chikungunya) is a disease which can be easily prevented to a great extent by homoeopathic prophylactic (preventive) treatment. Empiric treatment has proved the efficacy of homoeopathic prophylaxis. So, what is the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine and the Homeopathic Medial Council operating under this Ministry doing when they have the resources and the drugs to embark upon a prevention programme and even to successfully treat affected patients so that mortality rates would drop down dramatically in tandem with nil or with short hospital admissions?" - Dr. Mass R. Usuf.

Quite recently an island-wide outbreak of dengue fever in Sri Lankahas underlined the steady deterioration of public health care and preventative measures to contain the disease. The Sunday Times of June 21, 2009 carried an article written by Dhananjani Silva where the first paragraph said: "The Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) has asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint a Presidential Committee to find "practical and scientific methods" to check the dengue epidemic.

Combating dengue epidemic has now taken a different turn with the introduction of new laws to prosecute households and persons who allow breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Several people have been so far prosecuted.

The Fourth Estate these days are full of it on a routine basis with various versions of public opinion and statistics. Some blame the government and local authorities for having failed in their responsibilities in cleaning their 'mess' in the first instance in maintaining healthy environments by properly adopted organisational and maintenance procedures of garbage disposal from streets and dumping grounds; leaving blocked up public drains unattended, not cleaning canals, ponds etc. thus providing ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes to lay eggs.

Different opinions from critics too have surfaced to say that Public Health Inspectors (PHI) are not given godly powers to enter into private premises unless with a court order and their duties should extend beyond their immaculate white uniforms to maintain a 'clean environment' and not wait until government regulations enforce them to go after residents and inspect sites for mosquito breeding. So the discussions, arguments and suggestions fill the newspaper columns and in certain cases with banner heads such as "Keep your environment clean. Dengue is spreading".

The war of words between the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council and the Land Reclamation Department has been the talk of the town some time back, the crux of the argument being 'to clean all polluted canals coming under them in the city. This had reached a stage where legal action was being discussed on Dengue mosquito breeding places. During such administrative ding-dong the number of deaths seems to have increased according to the latest statistics published.

Dengue is a vicious vector-borne disease in Sri Lanka. It affects the young and the old, the rich and the poor alike, especially among those living in densely populated urban areas throughout the tropics.

In Dengue Bulletin Volume 22, December 1998, under the caption "Control of Dengue/Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever in Sri Lanka", Messrs A. Kulatilake and W. S. Jayakuru attached to the Epidemiological Unit, Department of Health Services, Colombo 10, proclaimed that 'Dengue fever had been endemic in Sri Lanka from the beginning of the 20th century and it was serologically confirmed in 1962'.

The paper further stated that following an outbreak of Chikungunya in 1965, there was an island-wide epidemic from 1965 to 1968. The first two cases of DHF occurred during this period. A few scattered cases were reported over the years and the largest outbreak occurred in 1990.

Surveys up to now have indicated that more than one serotype was in circulation and two peaks of the disease occur annually in association with the monsoon rains. The highest incidence is said to occur in the 5 to 9 year age group.

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the vectors responsible for dengue transmission. The control programme consisted of disease, vector and laboratory surveillance; vector control; social mobilisation; clinical management of DF/DHF and emergency response.

All this time Sri Lanka had a multidisciplinary dengue task force established at provincial and district levels to train clinicians on clinical management with the hope that implementation of such a programme in collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental organisations and with the maximum cooperation from the community, the morbidity and mortality caused by DF/DHF would reduce in the near future.

Dr. Mass R. Usuf - PhD, MD (Acu), MFHom, Former Senior Vice President National Association of Homeopaths & Affiliates and Country Co-ordinator for Natural Healthcare Worldwide (Switzerland) vis-a-vis the free post-tsunami homoeopathic medical camps conducted in the east coast, is of the opinion that Dengue fever (and even Chikungunya) is a disease which can be easily prevented to a great extent by homoeopathic prophylactic (preventive) treatment.

He says that empiric treatment has proved the efficacy of homoeopathic prophylaxis. Therefore, the dengue menace would assume the character of a very localised spread of some mild viral happening instead of assuming such alarming epidemic proportions with tragic consequences by providing such prophylactic treatment in all homoeopathic hospitals/dispensaries island wide, and by setting up temporary homoeopathic prophylactic centres in schools and community centres in major cities/towns.

Dr. Usuf says he would like to know from the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine and the Homoeopathic Medical Council operating under this Ministry what actions they have taken when these entities have the capability to contribute immensely vis--vis the prevention and treatment of dengue fever!

It is his contention as a homeopath that President Mahinda Rajapaksa needs to direct the Ministry of Indigenous Health and the Homoeopathic Medical Council to form a committee and provide such homoeopathic prophylactic treatment to the vulnerable masses using the aforesaid premises. This would to a great extent reduce the numbers affected by dengue fever.

Dr. Usuf is confident that those suffering from dengue fever (even Chikungunya) would find rapid relief by taking homoeopathic treatment. A patient affected by dengue fever, he states, would be up and about within 48 hours with all distressing symptoms receding fast. Timely homoeopathic treatment even prevents a patient progressing into the severe forms of dengue fever - dengue shock/haemorrhage - which can at the end lead to loss of life.

Dr. Usuf recommends three versatile Homoeopathy drugs - Led Pal, Eup Perf and Pyro - which are given as prophylactics on a bi-weekly/weekly basis against dengue (and Chikungunya). These drugs are devoid of any side effects and can be administered even to a day old infant. The few complicated cases (shock/haemorrhage) can be easily treated by adding one or two other homoeopathic drugs as per symptoms manifested.

As the homeopathic drugs are so cheap, Dr. Usuf is of the opinion that treating people with homoeopathic prophylactic (preventive) treatment the government coffers will not be strained unlike in the present circumstances where the Health Services have to spend millions in treating dengue patients with extended hospital stay!

So the twenty million question this former Senior Vice President of the National Association of Homeopaths & Affiliates poses is: "What is the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine and the Homeopathic Medial Council operating under this Ministry doing when they have the resources and the drugs to embark upon a prevention programme and even to successfully treat affected patients so that mortality rates would drop down dramatically in tandem with nil or with short hospital admissions".

Dr. Usuf has seen many young and old patients afflicted with dengue fever (and Chikungunya) taking no longer than 48 hours to recuperate with no complications, no hospitalisation and no fatalities. He fervently hopes that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would direct the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine and the Homoeopathic Medical Council to initiate action and implement a programme to combat this dreaded disease that is taking toll of precious lives by providing the homoeopathic prophylactic and treatment for those affected as well.

Chikungunya has come and is virtually gone. It is dengue time now. To add to the misery people are facing the threat of Swine flu now. However, Dr. Usuf very confidently says that it is opportune to mention that homoeopathy has ample, cheap and versatile drugs even to combat Swine flu.