RAWALPINDI: Two nurses from the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) dengue ward have contracted the dengue virus, sending alarm bells ringing in the health department and the Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) administration.

The two nurses, Shanzay and Hira, were working at the BBH dengue ward when they fell ill, and were subsequently admitted to the ward. Both nurses reside in the nurses’ hostel.

Shanzay was suffering from a fever for a few days when doctors tested her blood samples and found that she was suffering from dengue. She was immediately shifted to the dengue ward for treatment.

Hira was brought to the dengue ward for a test on Friday morning and doctors declared her a dengue patient as well. However, her name has been put on the list of probable dengue cases instead of the confirmed dengue cases because her final test will arrive on Saturday morning.

After the increase in dengue patients in city areas, doctors and nurses have also contracted the virus as the health department failed to conduct anti-dengue spraying in the hospital premises and hostels.


CDGR conducts indoor-residual spraying at hospitals after medical professionals fall ill


“The condition of the nurses’ hostel was bad. Water had accumulated around the hostel and the adjacent lawn was not maintained for many months, which became a breeding site for dengue mosquitoes,” a senior nurse from BBH said.

She said the nurses had pointed this out to the administration earlier, which did not lend an ear to them. She said it was the government’s duty to make arrangements to protect nurses from the disease.

“The condition of the doctors’ hostel at BBH was also bad, and it was feared that young doctors would also fall victim to the dengue virus if the administration did not wake from its deep slumber,” the Young Doctors Association (YDA) BBH president Dr Haider Akhter told Dawn.

He said there were three hostels for doctors – two for men and one for women. “The condition of the hostels is pathetic. Three doctors share a room in all the hostels. There are 50 rooms in total for men and 38 rooms for women,” he said.

Dr Akhter said dengue larvae was found in and around the hospital in this dengue season, and the YDA expressed concerned about this several times.

“The Punjab health secretary visited the BBH last week and assured that the doctors hostels would be renovated and young doctors’ problems would be resolved, but no action has been taken yet.,” he added.

BBH medical superintendent Dr Asif Qadir Mir was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.

Holy Family Hospital (HFH) deputy medical superintendent Dr Jamil Janjua has also contracted the dengue virus.

After reports of dengue patients from the hospital premises, the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) sent teams to hospitals for indoor-residual spray at BBH and HFH.

When contacted, the cluster in-charge of the Chah Sultan union council Dr Mazhar Azeem, confirmed that the CDGR visited BBH and its nurses hostel after two nurses contracted dengue.

He said indoor-residual spray was completed in the hospital and hostel as well as the hospital’s adjoining areas on Friday morning. He said dengue larvae were found near water coolers in the nurses’ hostel.

The number of dengue patients in the city has increased. In this year to date, 574 patients have arrived at the city’s three hospitals, including 267 from Rawal Town, 104 from Potohar Town, 50 from Chaklala Cantonment and 124 from Rawalpindi Cantonment. Up to 812 dengue patients were brought to HFH, BBH and the District Headquarters Hospital from areas that fall within the territory of Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2016

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