PESHAWAR: The government is employing different strategies to cope with the current epidemic of dengue haemorrhagic fever as it claimed another life on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 26.

Latest in the series of measures are the awareness sessions at schools, colleges and universities by experts regarding the causes and prevention of the vector-borne ailment and involvement of polio workers in the campaign.

According to dengue response unit, 398 people were tested positive for the illness of the total 1,752 persons, screened at the hospitals during the last 24 hours.

It said that 152 new admissions were recorded throughout the province. Most of the patients were admitted to Khyber Teaching Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. It said that 152 of the old patients were sent home and 433 were still being treated.

Overloaded KTH advises patients to visit other hospitals

Asif Khan, 22, a resident of Regi village, was the latest victim of the disease, who died at KTH. The KTH, which received 1049 patients on Thursday, has crossed the limit of bed occupancy due to load of dengue patients.

The KTH administration in a press release advised the patients to visit other hospitals to avoid inconvenience to people with other illness requiring admission.

The hospital has been receiving 90 per cent of dengue patients due to which bed occupancy rate has reached 98 per cent, far more than internationally established protocols. According to the protocol it shouldn’t be more than 85 per cent.

The administration fears that in case of any emergency, the hospital will not be able to cater to the load of patients. In this connection, a notification has been issued by hospital director, stating that bed occupancy rate should be kept to an acceptable level for availability of beds for critically-injured and sick people besides routine patients.

Dr Iftikharuddin, an expert, told Dawn that they had deployed 25 medical officers, who started awareness sessions in schools located in high-risk union councils.

He said that they planned to convene a meeting of 2,200 headmasters and principals of schools to scale up their knowledge about the causes and precautions about the dengue fever.

“Today, we also began three-day seminar for members of the local government wherein they were told that the presence of potential mosquitoes’ breeding sites inside houses was the main hindrance in the way of putting brakes on the vector-borne ailment,” said Dr Iftikharuddin.

He said that they asked the local government representatives to woo their voters to cooperate with the government and avoid storing water in the uncovered utensils and pots.

“Still there are a lot of problems inside the houses in high-risk areas as our entomologists have found that larva is present in pots. The tyres and other scarps stored on the rooftops continue to accumulate rain water for which we desperately require help of the elected representatives,” he said.

The expert said that their teams would be accompanying polio workers in the three-day campaign starting from September 18 to visit houses and inform people about preventive steps. He said that they would also distribute pamphlets among the people.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2017