RAWALPINDI: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Thursday expressed displeasure over the increase in dengue cases after he receiving a fact-finding report from the divisional commissioner on the spread of dengue in Rawalpindi.

During a high-level meeting at his office, Mr Buzdar reprimanded administrative officials for failing to implement instructions issued on dengue eradication.

Commissioner Saqib Zafar, Deputy Commissioner Ali Randhawa and other senior administration officials attended the meeting over video link.

Mr Buzdar asked why dengue was not controlled despite the standard operating procedures (SOP) issued for this purpose. He said dengue prevention measures are adopted every year and asked why negligence was seen this time. He said an inquiry would be held where delays and negligence are seen.

He directed the chief secretary to identify those responsible through an investigation and said action would be taken against them in light of the inquiry report.

Mr Buzdar said it was intolerable that officers were sitting in their offices while people were falling victim to dengue, adding that an alarming situation has developed with regards to dengue in Rawalpindi.

He directed emergency measures in Rawalpindi to overcome dengue, and said close coordination should be maintained with the Islamabad administration as well. The government’s directions were not implemented fully, he added, and directed that officials who were negligent should be identified.

Mr Buzdar was told that dengue spread in the garrison city because of misreporting by the concerned officials. He asked how it was possible that a person could succumb to dengue while dengue larvae were not found in that specific locality. He also noted delays in the case response in Rawalpindi.

Following the meeting, Commissioner Saqib Zafar asked Rawalpindi Medical University Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Umer to contact the executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and tell them not to refer Islamabad’s dengue cases to Rawalpindi.

He said Rawalpindi’s government hospitals were bearing 30pc of the load of Islamabad’s dengue patients, and there needs to be coordination between the administrations of both cities.

He asked the district administration and government hospitals to implement the chief minister’s directives.

It was decided that the Cantonment General Hospital will be asked to allocate 50 beds to dengue patients in the cantonment areas, and 75 beds were arranged at the Red Crescent Hospital, where the Holy Family Hospital has deputed a medical unit to deal with dengue patients.

Another 70 people with dengue visited the three government-run hospitals on Thursday, bringing the total number of dengue patients to 1,076. However, 80 dengue patients were discharged after receiving treatment.

There are presently 280 dengue patients admitted to the hospitals, which have the capacity to accommodate more than 340 patients.

Deputy Commissioner Ali Randhawa told Dawn the number of dengue patients has increased in hospitals, but many are being discharged after they are treated.

He said private laboratories and hospitals have been asked to provide data on dengue patients visiting their facilities. He added that the district administration would train private hospital and clinic staffers to deal with dengue cases.

The Fauji Foundation Hospital and eight others have been asked to allocate beds for dengue patients, and anti-dengue spraying has been expedited.

The education authority has sealed three private schools after finding dengue larvae on their premises, while the Rawalpindi Development Authority has lodged four FIRs against commercial building owners in Airport Housing Society and the environment department has sealed four junkyards, Additional Deputy Commissioner Saima Younas said.

She told Dawn two vehicle-based fogging machines have arrived from Gujranwala and 100 shoulder-mounted ones were recently procured to fumigate all the union councils in the city and cantonment areas.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2019