News You Really Need To See: “Dengue Outbreak Overwhelms Delhi”

“Dengue Outbreak Overwhelms Delhi”

The New York Times, October 10, 2015, p.A4

During the annual dengue season, roughly from August to November, stories like Aman’s circulate through the city.  The dengue outbreak in Delhi appears to be the worst in years — as of Thursday, more than 9,000 registered cases and 30 deaths, the highest numbers since 2006.  The stories have a depressing sameness, describing families looking for lifesaving treatment left on their own to navigate a dizzying array of public and private providers.  In September, news reports told of the parents of a 7-year-old dengue victim in Delhi who jumped to their deaths from their fourth-story apartment after reportedly being turned away from five private hospitals. … Experts, however, say privatized health care is only part of the problem, and reflects the shortcomings of an overburdened public system and the inadequacy of the government’s preventive measures. … New Delhi hospitals have been inundated by patients this season, in what officials and experts called a public panic over dengue, fanned by the news reports. … Though care at private hospitals is often preferable when available, the costs at for-profit treatment facilities can be exorbitant for poor families.  Even at that, experts say, for-profit hospitals are reluctant to take on dengue cases because of the low profit margins associated with widespread diseases.”

Quickie analysis:  When overpopulation meets cutthroat capitalism, people fall through the cracks.

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