There is a new wave of public health workers whose job is to visit homes looking for infestations of the aedes aegyptimosquito. Almost all of them are older and retired. In many cases they have backgrounds in the communist party or armed forces, and seem to have taken their task very seriously. These people can show up at any time from morning to evening, and get especially upset if someone cannot or will not let them in for any particular reason. They then ring the doorbell obsessively, pound on the door frenetically, and even make threats in a loud voice so that everyone else hears them and takes note.
These scenes are repeatedly continually in any given neighborhood. Besides being useless exercises, they amount to an unacceptable form of persecution. The authorities do not realize that illnesses such as dengue, which used not to exist in our country but which have now been uncontrollable for three decades, are a result of an unhealthy environment, urban decay, the accumulation of trash and debris everywhere, and inadequate or almost non-existent garbage collection, especially in neighborhoods where there are no trash cans and people hang their bags of waste from the trees or simply toss them into corners. Furthermore, since the situation is impacted by the lack of products to combat epidemics, the inadequate and almost non-existent control of stray animals, the clogging of sewers and drains, the lack of cleanliness on city buses and in parks, cafes, farmers markets, and which steadily worsens all the time.
The state should set an example before being allowed to make demands on the population. Before persecuting and threatening people with fines, it should create conditions which promote good hygiene and insure the health of all the citizenry. Rather than sanctioning and harassing, it should educate by example and provide the necessary products and means at reasonable pricescommensuratewith people’s salaries. Only in this way will we be freed from this relentless persecution.
October 15 2012