Timely measures not taken to prevent dengue, parliamentary secretary admits

Updated October 01, 2019

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Patients’ attendants sit inside mosquito nets at Pims in Islamabad on Monday. The twin cities have been hit by a dengue outbreak, with hospitals receiving patients on a daily basis. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Patients’ attendants sit inside mosquito nets at Pims in Islamabad on Monday. The twin cities have been hit by a dengue outbreak, with hospitals receiving patients on a daily basis. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: The government did not take timely precautionary measures to prevent dengue in the capital, the parliamentary secretary for national health services (NHS) admitted in the National Assembly on Monday.

The matter was raised through a calling attention notice by PTI lawmakers, in light of the rising number of dengue cases in Islamabad.

MNA Nafeesa Inayatullah Khattak said that the number of dengue cases was causing grave concerns among the public, while MNA Raja Khurram Nawaz asked why fumigation was not carried out in April.

Says fumigation should have been carried out in capital in April

NHS Parliamentary Secretary Dr Nausheen Hamid said it was true that fumigation should have begun in April, which is the season of larva development.

“Unfortunately, spraying was not done in April this year. However, it is being ensured that timely sprays will be done from next year to control dengue,” she said.

Dr Hamid said a comprehensive mechanism was developed to counter dengue fever in the capital.

She also said that dengue is also reported in other parts of the world, with Malaysia, the Philippines and Pakistan being the worst affected.

Around 3,000 cases of dengue have been reported in the capital so far, she said. An emergency centre has been established at the National Institute of Health for dengue patients. A dengue control and operation room has also been set up, and beds have been allocated for dengue patients in hospitals.

Survey teams have been formed to fumigate various parts of the city, Dr Hamid said, adding that fumigation is currently being carried out in areas where dengue larvae have been found.

She added that awareness about dengue fever is also essential, and urged people to keep their surroundings clean to stop dengue fever from spreading.Meanwhile, the dengue situation has stabilised after concerted, coordinated efforts by the NHS ministry and the concerned departments, a statement issued by the ministry quoted Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on NHS Dr Zafar Mirza as saying.

Dr Mirza was speaking at a dengue coordination meeting attended by the heads of Islamabad hospitals, senior officers and other stakeholders, including the district administrations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The meeting was held to review progress in dengue control and prevention efforts.

Participants of the meeting were told that an effective case response has been undertaken and areas where cases were reported from are being visited by teams and the necessary prevention measures are being taken.

Dr Mirza also told the administrations of the twin cities to redouble their efforts, adding that the reporting system for dengue and other diseases is being strengthened.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2019