ISLAMABAD: While the number of dengue cases in the country has touched the five-digit figure, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza warned there will be further increase in these cases in the next 10 days.
“However, during next month the disease would be brought under control as the mercury would start going downwards. I have observed that politicians, during television shows, use the issue of dengue cases for point scoring. My suggestion to them is not to do politics over issues related to public health,” he said at a news conference on Sunday.
According to Dr Mirza, as many as 10,013 dengue cases have so far been reported this year from across the country. He claimed that the number of dengue cases in some previous years was more than the cases reported during the current year.
“During the current year 2,363 cases are reported in Punjab, 2,258 in Sindh, 1,814 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1,772 in Balochistan. Other cases have been reported from Islamabad and other areas of the country. The federal government has been coordinating with provinces to curb the dengue outbreak and concerted efforts are being made to check it,” he said.
PM’s aide appeals to politicians not to use issue for point scoring
He said the Dengue Control and Operations Centre has been set up in the Ministry of Health, Islamabad, which would review country-wide dengue-related situation on daily basis and take steps to control it. He said that two hotlines with contact numbers (051-9212601 and 9216890) would work round the clock and expert doctors would respond to dengue-related queries.
He said about 70pc dengue patients in Punjab were reported in the Potohar region, adding research would be conducted in coming days to ascertain why this region is so affected.
Keeping in view the possible increase in the number of patients, he said 16 Basic Health Units in Islamabad have been made functional and trained doctors were providing treatment to patients. He urged people to visit these units for carrying out tests following which the medical staff would guide them to visit whichever nearest hospital.
Dr Mirza said the health department was fumigating most affected areas while the federal government was coordinating with provincial governments to curb dengue outbreak and provide health facilities to the patients.
Earlier, chairing a meeting of senior health officials on dengue situation, the SAPM assigned Director General Health Dr Asad Hafeez to conduct clinical audit and physical inspection of dengue wards in all four major hospitals of Islamabad — Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Polyclinic, Federal General Hospital and National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. A daily report will be submitted to the SAPM, Secretary Health Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik and the Dengue Control Room.
The chief of the National Institute of Health’s field epidemiology division was assigned to update National Action Plan on Dengue Outbreak with inputs from all provinces so as to ensure adequate planning, training, curative, preventive and outbreak response for next year.
PML-N seeks resignations
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb has sought resignation of the Punjab chief minister, federal and provincial ministers and advisers over failing to control the disease.
“It is the first government which is sharing the details of its incompetence. The chief minister, ministers and advisers should resign rather than sharing the number of cases of dengue. They cannot hide their incompetence by suspending some officers,” she said.
She suggested that the chief minister, ministers and advisers should establish their offices in hospitals and declare emergency across the country.
“Facility of free tests and medicines should be provided to patients. Dengue cannot be controlled through press conferences being held at the expense of the exchequer. It is unfortunate the current government had closed the dengue programme because of its rivalry with Shahbaz Sharif.’’
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2019