RAWALPINDI: More than 400 lady health workers (LHW) have been called in from Rawalpindi district’s six tehsils to participate in dengue prevention efforts in affected parts of Rawalpindi city starting today (Friday), and the district administration has begun distributing free mosquito nets among dengue patients visiting hospitals.

These decisions were made at a meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali Randhawa to review anti-dengue efforts on Thursday, during which Mr Randhawa asked departments to intensify their efforts to protect people from the dengue virus and to make coordinated efforts to eliminate dengue larvae and mosquitoes.

The meeting was attended by Additional Deputy Commissioner Headquarters Saima Younas and other senior officials.

Mr Randhawa expressed concerns over the increase in dengue cases and said daily reports from teams and a third party audit of the anti-dengue campaign should be presented to him every evening.

He asked the chief executive officer of the District Health Authority to ensure that all anti-dengue teams make their locations accessible from 8am to evening so their presence can be checked by the Punjab government officials. He said three magistrates from the city have been empowered under the Punjab Dengue Act to seal commercial buildings if dengue mosquitoes are found on their premises and impose fines on the owners.

Ms Younas told Dawn after the meeting that doctors have been recruited at the Red Crescent Hospital and the three other government-run hospitals in the city to meet the shortage of staff. They will begin working tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

“A total of 110 new dengue patients were deported in three government-run hospitals in the last 24 hours, while 104 dengue patients were discharged after receiving proper treatment. At present, 403 dengue patients have been admitted to three government-run hospitals,” she said.

She said that more than 400 LHWs have been called in from Kahuta, Kotli Sattian, Kalar Syedan, Gujar Khan, Taxila and Murree to clear affected areas including Dhoke Munshi, Faisal Colony, Dhoke Kala Khan, Afzal Town, Gharibabad and nearby areas.

Blood test centres have been established in the Airport Housing Society and Dhoke Kala Khan.

“Two doctors from the medical unit of Gujar Khan Tehsil Headquarters Hospitalare supervising these blood test counters,” she added.

She said the Social Security Hospital on I.J. Principal Road has allocated 25 beds for dengue patients, which will be increased to 75 in the event of an emergency. Private hospitals will also be used to provide medical care to dengue patients.

Ms Younas added that entomologists and senior students from Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University are helping anti-dengue teams with their awareness campaign.

The District Health Authority, District Council and Rawalpindi Waste Management Company have been asked to distribute pamphlets and brochures among residents to take preventive measures against dengue.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2019