Falling funds, rising deaths: dengue cases have doubled this year

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Falling funds, rising deaths: dengue cases have doubled this year

Dengue claimed the lives of four more people in the capital over the last two days, taking the total number of deaths this season to around 15.

As the city reels under the effects of the disease, officials have only confirmed five deaths.

Meanwhile, even as all government hospitals remain handicapped due to unavailability of beds, two children, aged 7 and 6, died due to lack of treatment after they were turned away by renowned private hospitals.

History of dengue in India

Dengue, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, causes fever and acute pain in joints. It was first reported in 1956 in Vellore district, Tamil Nadu, and the first outbreak was in Calcutta in 1963.

The most severe outbreak was recorded in 1996 in Delhi, when more than 400 deaths were recorded.

The dismal state of healthcare services is illustrated by one shocking statistic. There has been a 66% drop in funds in the last three years in Delhi, which has weakened the fight.

Here are some facts that show Delhi is not alone - the entire landscape of preventable diseases is in a sorry state.


  • The total number of dengue cases reported in the country this year, up to 6 September 2015.
  • Dengue cases have nearly doubled from 2014, when 10,097 cases were reported.
  • Delhi has topped the list of cities this year, accounting for 1,259 cases, followed by Bangalore with 1,139 cases.
  • State wise, Karnataka tops with 3,291 reported cases, followed by Kerala (2,847) and Tamil Nadu (2,228).


  • The number of people who have died from dengue in 2015 till August.
  • Kerala has reported the highest number of deaths, 19, closely followed by Delhi.
  • In the corresponding period in 2014, there were 37 deaths. Maharashtra had reported the highest number (18) of deaths.
  • Globally, around 20,000 people die of dengue every year, according to World Health Organisation estimates. However, all dengue deaths are avoidable, if one takes precautions at the right time.



  • The approximate number of malaria cases that were officially recorded every year from 2011 to 2013 in India.
  • Nearly half of these cases were reported from Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • Each year, more than 500 deaths occur due to malaria.
  • Malaria is a global problem too. For instance, in 2013 alone, there were 198 million malaria cases, with an estimated 584,000 deaths.
  • Funding is a major reason for the crisis in the fight against malaria. As of 2013, the total funding for malaria control and elimination was US$2.7 billion, significantly below the $5 billion that is needed, according to WHO.


  • The number of districts across 20 states in India (more than 25% of all districts) that are prone to Japanese Encephalitis (JE), a viral infection which leads to inflammation of the brain.
  • Between 2011 and 2013, around 3,045 cases of JE were reported across the country, with Assam accounting for almost half of all cases.
  • More than 10% of the cases reported across India resulted in deaths. In Assam, more than 20% of the people affected by JE died.


  • The total number of viral hepatitis cases that were reported across India between 2010-2013, with Karnataka suffering the most due to the disease.
  • Around 1 lakh people die from hepatitis virus B every year, according to the National Center for Disease Control.
  • Hepatitis B, mainly transmitted through blood, is a major cause of chronic liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancers.


  • The average number of children under the age of five who die from pneumonia and diarrhoea annually, according to the Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report, 2013, published by the International Vaccine Access Centre.
  • In India, diarrhoea is the third leading cause of childhood mortality and amounts to 13% of all deaths per year in children under 5 years of age.
  • Pneumonia is the leading cause of child deaths in India.



  • The total number of HIV positive cases detected between 2010-October 2013 through the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre of the Department of AIDS Control, with the highest detection from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • During the same period, around 112,743 people died from AIDS, with the most deaths reported from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.


crore rupees

  • The amount budgeted in 2015-16 for the department of health and family welfare and the department of health research.
  • This is more than 10% lower than the amount allocated in Budget 2014-15.
  • All the diseases mentioned above are easily preventable and curable if people are alert about the symptoms and accessibility to healthcare improves.
Sourjya  Bhowmick

Sourjya Bhowmick @sourjyabhowmick