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Dengue claims another life

August 08, 2017

PESHAWAR: Dengue haemorrhagic fever continued to infect people as another person died of the vector-borne ailment at Khyber Teaching Hospital, brining number of total deaths to three during the last three weeks.

Mohammad Imran, 22, is the latest victim, who died of the disease after remaining at the intensive care unit of the hospital for five days. All the deceased belonged to Tehkal locality of Peshawar where the epidemic infected more than 300 people, according to official data.

KTH, which is catering bulk of the patients, is finding hard to cope with the situation due to lack of space, medicines, nurses and equipment. A request sent to health department for provision of additional nurses, screening kits, impregnated bed nets and PCR machine has fallen on deaf ears while the patients continues to come to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

So far, the hospital has admitted 156 patients of whom 79 have been sent home and 80 are still being treated. On Monday, 10 more patients were admitted after their test emerged positive for dengue fever.

KTH faces difficulties in coping with situation due to lack of space, medicines, nurses and equipment

Officials said that they received 1,851 suspected patients and 291 of them diagnosed positive for the disease caused by bite of infected mosquito. Last night, the hospital procured rapid kits for screening of the suspected patients from the market when it ran out of stock.

Officials, however, told Dawn that they had received 1,000 kits from Lahore to diagnose the suspected patients. Most of the patients belonged to poor families and couldn’t be sent outside for screening because the cost of a single test was Rs1,500 while the hospital spent Rs600 on investigating one patient, they added.

Hayatabad Medical Complex received 10 patients and eight of them were sent home while two were still being treated. Authorities have allocated six beds at each of the five medical units besides establishing an isolation unit at the private room but more space is required because the endemic locality is close to KTH and flow of patients continues.

Officials at KTH said that they spent an estimated Rs6 million on treatment of dengue patients. They said that they were looking towards the government for additional funds to ensure provision of investigation and treatment facilities to the people.

Dr Shaheen Afridi, deputy director Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health services department, told Dawn that they placed 10 nurses at the disposal of KTH administration and were in the process of more assistance to tackle the situation. She said that health department was taking all measures to put brake on spread of the disease.

Dr Shaheen said that the hospital got sufficient funds but health department was aware of the situation and wanted to scale up public awareness regarding causes of the disease besides giving treatment to the patients.

Dr Shabina Raza, director-general health services, said that she had visited the hospital and held meetings with the relevant staff to ensure that people got prompt services.

She said that district government was carrying out fumigation in the locality. She added that people should sprinkle kerosene oil on stagnant water pools to deny breeding sites to the mosquitoes besides using bed nets to stay safe from the mosquitoes’ bites.

Dr Shabina said that their epidemiologists were also working on a plan to do away with the mosquitoes and safeguard people from being infected.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2017