The Hanoi Health Department concealed five dengue fever deaths this year, hospital records reveal.
A report by Hanoi Health Department to the Prime Minister on October 22 stated that “Hanoi had recorded 7,813 dengue fever infections, but no deaths, as of October 22, 2009,” according to newswire Vietnamnet.
But director of the National Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases Nguyen Van Kinh said the report was blatantly false.
“Five dengue fever deaths have occurred in Hanoi this year, including two at the institute and three at Bach Mai Hospital,” a Tuesday report by the same newswire quoted Kinh as saying.
The two deaths at the institute included Nguyen Tien Dat, 17, who was admitted September 19 and died the same day, according to medical records at the hospital. Ngo Hong Quang, 20, died on September 29, one week after he was hospitalized, the records said.
Shortly after Kinh spoke to Vietnamnet, Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy head of the Hanoi Health Department, told Tuoi Tre on Tuesday evening that two dengue fever patients had died in Hanoi this year. In contrast with official department figures, Hanh said there had been about 9,000 dengue cases recorded in the capital city this year.
He said the department was checking figures at Bach Mai and other hospitals. He said Bach Mai doesn’t report regularly to the city health authority but directly to the Preventive Health and Environment Department at the Ministry of Health.
Department head Nguyen Huy Nga said Hanoi Health Department would have no way of knowing about any deaths that hadn’t been reported by hospitals.
But Kinh said his institute had emailed the city department every day with dengue fever patient updates.
Do Le Huan, director of the Hanoi Preventive Health and Environment Center, refused to comment on the issue. He said he had just returned from Thailand and did not know what was going on.
Anti-dengue efforts to no avail
Reports by the Preventive Health and Environment Department showed that pesticide spraying operations had failed to reduce the number of mosquito larva in the city as the program had failed to reach most of the 5,200 “hot-spots” identified in 29 districts.
The number of dengue fever patients hospitalized in Hanoi has dropped since late October but they were being admitted in more critical condition. Many were suffering from low blood pressure and even blood loss and others have needed respirator assistance.
Around 80 percent of in-patients with dengue fever at the National Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases had been admitted with signs of Dengue shock syndrome, Kinh said.
His deputy Nguyen Hong Ha said half of the 600-700 people admitted to the institute every day were dengue fever patients. The institute is treating 250 in-patients, mostly from Hanoi, he said.
In contrast with both the official figures from the department and those given by Hanh to Tuoi Tre, Ha said there had been 8,709 cases of dengue recorded in Hanoi as of Wednesday.
Source: Thanh Nien