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PESHAWAR: Alarmed by detection of four cases some two days ago, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has issued guidelines to all line departments for appropriate measures to prevent outbreak of dengue haemorrhagic fever with the advent of the favourable weather conditions for spread of the vector-borne ailment.

A letter issued by the office of health secretary on Thursday advised the administrative secretaries and commissioners to take their responsibilities in line with the chief secretary’s directives to put brakes on the ailment, which killed more than 65 people last year.

All the departments have been tasked to ensure that their premises stay free from stagnant water pools, debris, tyres and water leakages so that the vector through which the ailment is communicated can be denied breeding space.

Guidelines issued to line depts for prevention of outbreak

The vector control measure is the central point of the guidelines for which all the top officers of the government departments have to swing into action and ensure that there exist no potential breeding sites for mosquitoes in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

To ensure vector-free environment, they have been advised to ensure disposal of waste and garbage besides taking steps to stop accumulation of rainwater on their respective premises.

The health department has also given tips to prevent creation of breeding spaces for mosquitoes, suggesting that they should pursue a mechanism to carry out regular monitoring of the rooftops, water tanks, stores and tyres etc in addition to putting in place good sanitation system to put brakes on water leakage.

“Additionally, the presence of debris near the building should be avoided,” said the letter. It added July to September is favourable period for breeding of dengue mosquitoes.

The letter said that to translate the guidelines into practical action, each department should form two-member committee to take stock of the situation by carrying out inspections on fortnightly basis and holding regular meetings on action plans to solidify measures for prevention of dengue preparedness within their jurisdictions.

“The guidelines have been issued on the directives of the chief secretary with the inputs from the public health committee,” it said.

The health department has already issued red alert after confirmation of at least four cases of dengue fever, which infected thousands people last year, and has issued specific instructions to avoid replay of the past cases.

It said that Auqaf department should organise meetings with religious leaders and enlist their support for awareness drives to pave way for prevention of the dengue virus.

The health department, which has already formed Dengue Response Unit (DRU) to oversee the province wide anti-dengue measures, has developed one-page message for prevention of the disease. The same would be circulated among the line departments to strengthen advocacy campaigns among the population. The DRU will come up with messages for information and would act as monitoring agency for the departments.

The environment department has been entrusted with responsibility to share information with health and local government department regarding habitats in or around cities at high risk of dengue fever besides determining benefits and adverse impacts of chemical and environmental control measures to make the exercise useful. It would devise strategy to propose action for vector control.

Awareness among students would be the duty of the all higher education institutes. They would hold walks, debates and seminars to scale up knowledge about control and prevention of the sickness.

Incorporation of dengue awareness lessons in the curricula as well vector control interventions on the premises of the educational institutions and hostels and residential areas are also part of the instructions.

Armed forces would be contacted for anti-dengue measures in cantonment areas while jail, police, housing departments have been asked for steps including proper planning of housing schemes with safe water storage practices to avoid any breeding sites for mosquitoes.

The information department will develop messages to be disseminated on television, radio and newspapers whereas the industries and local government departments have been asked to ensure waste disposal and improve sanitation and drainage system.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018