We care. Do you? #MsiaEndsDengue

We care. Do you? #MsiaEndsDengue
Isn’t life ironic?

Imagine, something so small, minuscule, and irrelevant to our lives can kill us. Weighing less than 0.01% of our average weight, and length less than 0.001% of our average height, they kill us with just one kiss.

That is right folks: just one kiss. A kiss that could land you in the hospital and put you in your graves. It puts to shame some of the scariest mammals, reptiles that you find on the planet. Call it the modern day David versus Goliath.

Fortunately though, we can kill it with our little finger. We can destroy its breeding place. We can take out its entire family and colonies.

And if we work together, we can even wipe it out from our neighborhood. So the big question is, why haven’t we?

Lives lost
A seven-month-pregnant woman lost her baby to dengue. Imagine the sorrow of losing your child that you carried for seven months. Then imagine the emotional trauma that ensues. The sadness that engulfs the father, grandparents and other family members. The preparation made, weeks of careful name choosing aside, it is a feeling you wouldn’t even wish your enemies.

Then imagine if the mother doesn’t make it too. What happens to the children, parents, and society?

I’m not sure if you could imagine all that. I couldn’t. An individual is never “just” an individual. We make up the fabric that gives colour to the society.

A few years back, one girl with dengue shock syndrome said to me,”Doc, if I die would you please tell my mom not to cry so much? Tell her I will look after my sis when I see her soon.” Knowing she was going in and out of consciousness, I decided to not say anything but held on to her hand and nodded, at the same time fighting back tears. She was in intensive care and died from dengue a few days later leaving behind a devastated family.

She is one of the patients I remember until today, and wonder how her family survive without her.

It won’t happen to me attitude. Why? Bad things never happen to you?

If that is so, let us meet up. I could benefit from a lesson or two from you. But if you think you are safe because your compound is clean, think again.

Every pot, saucer, aircond tray in the compound, or roof gutter that is blocked by dead leaves can determine whether you, your family, and neighbours are safe from dengue. Clean your compound as if with a fine tooth comb, like your life depends on it. Talk to your neighbours and spread the awareness. Start reporting illegal dumping sites, stagnant drains and errant neighbours to the authorities.

Nothing shocks a Malaysian into reality more quickly and effectively than paying a hefty fine. Discourage your children from playing in unkempt fields and playgrounds. Teach them to keep their toys away, and that the next time they improperly discard a plastic wrapper or a water bottle, it might cost someone’s life. Remind yourself and others to clean the dishes and saucers you put out to feed stray cats and dogs.

The days of “I live my life and you live yours” must end if we want to put a stop to dengue. This is not the time to tread on eggshells vis a vis people’s feelings. This is a matter of life and death.

#MsiaEndsDengue

Enough lives lost. We cannot wait until it happens to someone we know before realising, “Hey, it is my problem too.”

We need to end this menace, together, now. If not for yourself, then do it for the sake of your loved ones.

This piece is dedicated to Dr. Alya (MMG Columnist) and her family members, as they go through these turbulent times. Dr Alya has recently lost a relative to dengue. Al-Fatihah.

-By Dr. Kamal Amzan