LAHORE: Declaring six more districts of the province on the verge of dengue epidemic, the Special Branch Punjab has revealed that the health authorities have not taken timely action regarding possible outbreak of the disease in Rawalpindi.
In its report titled, “Threat of outbreak of dengue epidemic in Rawalpindi district”, the agency stated that it had generated 48 Dengue Virus Reports (DVRs) and 5,337 suspected sore points/hotspots in Rawalpindi that could cause spread of the disease.
The Special Branch had also sent a set of recommendations giving a way forward to curtail the disease besides proposing action against those held responsible for the outbreak in Rawalpindi. The dengue outbreak could have been averted by implementing its previous alert reports, it said.
The agency has sent its new report to the Punjab government for prompt action on the lapses with a set of recommendations to implement on an emergent basis to stop spread of the disease to other parts of the province.
“Apart from sending reports, the Rawalpindi field officers of the agency also issued five different special reports (SRs) indicating threat of spread of dengue in the district but no action on ground was taken on these reports,” reads the report.
It has alerted that due to delay in controlling disease in Rawalpindi, six more districts of the province are facing dengue outbreak threat. These districts are Lahore, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Faisalabad and Multan.
While declaring these districts highly sensitive for dengue spread, the agency has recommended immediate measures to curtail the disease.
“There is a dire need to take preventive measures and actions on an emergency basis to prevent these districts from being declared highly sensitive and vulnerable for dengue epidemic,” reads the report.
About the causes of the dengue spread, it stated during survey of the agency’s field staff has identified 10 localities in Rawalpindi which are vulnerable.
It stated that the massive development work and constructions (both domestic and commercial) were carried out in the localities in sheer violation of dengue regulations. After Aug 12, 150 dengue patients were reported from these localities and were rushed to the hospitals.
The report pointed that people had made underground water tanks in these areas for the purpose of storage of water. These tanks remained filled with water and garbage being a potential risk of growing mesquites, the report stated.
“Besides, water remains stagnant in the basements of under construction commercial plazas which is causing spread of dengue larva in abundance in the localities.”
The Agency also levelled allegations of generating fictitious reports showing “all is well” about larvaciding presented by the health and district authorities.
Like, during field survey it appeared that the local administration in Potohar Town and officials of the district council were found least interested to control dengue in the area.
“The surveillance teams of health department didn’t visit the affected areas and (allegedly) prepared fictitious reports about surveillance activities in residences, commercial plazas, under construction buildings, vacant plots, water supply private tanks, junkyards, besides filling relevant pro formas with fabricated information and submitting the same to the high-ups,” reads the reports.
The Special Branch report stated that administration of Rawalpindi was not carrying out vector surveillance in the areas in a professional manner.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2019