No complacency

Swine flu has been reported from all over the world and the World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the disease as a pandemic. Many countries have declared a high degree of alertness in order to deal with the epidemic and contain

it when it appears. There are already reports of swine flu cases being detected in Nepal. The victims had,

in most instances, returned from trips abroad. However, no deaths have been reported from this viral disease in the country so far. Deaths have now been reported from this flu in various parts of neighbouring countries, so Nepal too is vulnerable to the spread of this highly infectious disease. So that the people do not panic, the government and the WHO have appealed to them to remain calm as both these

bodies were doing their best to combat the spread of the disease. Since swine flu is highly contagious,

it is necessary to take all the precautions possible. The health authorities should inform the people about the symptoms of the disease and where to

seek medical help when they suspect they are afflicted with it. Countries where this disease has surfaced in most cases have shut down schools, shopping malls and other crowded places like cinema theatres so that the flu does not spread.

In any case, the diagnosis of this flu appears to take some time here. The Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital is treating suspected swine flu victims. It is reported that a rapid test only half confirms the disease and

suspected flu victims

are administered an

antiviral drug only

after undergoing the test. Other tests to confirm the disease could take as

long as 72 hours and in some cases it might take even a week in order to confirm the disease. Seeing this, the hospital would

be hard put in order to conduct the tests for the virus should an epidemic break out. So the priority should be on not allowing the disease to reach a pandemic proportion in the country. As such, it would be necessary to maintain constant vigil in the border areas and airports. The government claims to have mobilized enough health personnel here but, if we are to go by media reports, the surveillance is not as thorough as it should be.

It is, therefore, essential to screen people coming to the country by land routes and on flights. The

Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) must

be very much aware of the situation, and it reassuring to know that the WHO, Nepal is providing the

necessary technical, logistic and financial support so as to enable the country to deal with a possible epidemic of the disease. But the people have their doubts as to whether the government is up to the challenge seeing how miserably it has failed to check the epidemic of diarrhoea in mid Western Nepal. It has been months now since the epidemic surfaced, but reports of casualties from this disease are continuing to pour in. So that the people are reassured this time around, the MoHP, in particular, and also NGOs and other private bodies should work in tandem so that the awareness campaign about swine flu is intensified. It is better to act immediately so as to avert a potential pandemic of the flu that could have disastrous consequences.

Forks don’t work

The cumulative energy of the youths is immense but the sad fact is that their utilization has not been given any attention. Maybe the extra energy flowing from them sees results in the form of lockouts, burning tyres or something of this sort. In all this, the ministers know little better than to stress that the youths are the powerhouse of all round national development. Every day we hear of rivalry among the various youth groups or unions leading to dangerous joustling with many getting hurt, and sometimes fatality too results. It seems that no one values the life of others. Isn’t that a sheer waste of the potential that everyone sees in the youths?

The reflection of the political parties is well done by their student unions and youth wings. If the parties have having their war of words in the capital, the young ones too keep the torch burning in places around the country. Each has the mission of trying to settle a debt via the violent tactics. So, a bone broken here or the skull fractured somewhere becomes the common news for public consumption. The leaders concerned are so engrossed in the political game that the naughty ones get a free day.