PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday summoned the provincial health secretary on Oct 17 to explain the situation related to dengue outbreak in parts of the province and steps to be taken to check it next year.
Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Abdul Shakoor expressed concern about the dengue situation after the director general (health services) said by the end of the current month, the mosquito-borne disease would end after the temperature dropped but the problem would be more severe next year.
The bench observed that if the situation would be so alarming next year, the court might summon the chief minister if the health secretary didn’t give any satisfactory reply.
Official insists problem will be more severe next year
The bench was hearing petitions filed by lawyers Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel and Shah Faisal Ilyas seeking the court orders for respondents, including provincial government, health secretary, local government secretary and Peshawar deputy commissioner, to take immediate steps to eradicate dengue virus in Peshawar.
They requested the court to ask the government to take both preventive and curative measures against dengue.
These petitions were filed in 2017 when most parts of Peshawar were affected with dengue fever and people in large number were admitted to different hospitals.
The court resumed the hearing in these cases few weeks ago when the disease again surfaced in different parts of the province, including the capital.
DG (health services) Dr Arshad Ahmad Khan and deputy director Dr Imran represented the health department, additional advocate general Sikandar Hayat Khan the government and assistant commissioner Usman Jillani the district administration.
The DG said 4,108 people had so far tested positive for dengue in the province and they included 2,120 from Peshawar.
He, however, said the fever didn’t kill anyone in the province.
The DG said 157 patients were under treatment in Peshawar. He said the disease would be under control by the end of the current month due to change in weather and dropping of temperatures.
He, however, warned that steps would have to be taken for the next year as dengue would be return with more severity.
Justice Qaiser Rasheed asked what the health minister had been doing against dengue in such circumstances.
The bench observed that if the situation would be so alarming next year, it might summon the minister and even they could asked the chief minister to turn up to explain the corrective steps to be taken.
Assistant commissioner Usman Jillani submitted a report of the administration saying fumigation has so far been carried out in 29,000 houses in the dengue-affected nine union councils of Peshawar.
He added that 220 teams would carry out the activity until Oct 11 to eliminate dengue larva.
During the last hearing, the bench had directed the provincial government, including district administrations and health department, to increase fumigation in dengue-affected areas to contain the disease.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2019