PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday directed the provincial health department to produce a report about the situation of dengue fever in the province within a month.

A bench consisting of Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar fixed Oct 17 for the next hearing into a petition filed by lawyer Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel to seek orders for the respondents, including the provincial government, health and local government secretaries, and Peshawar’s deputy commissioner, to take immediate steps for the elimination of dengue virus from the provincial capital.

The bench directed the deputy commissioner of Peshawar to carry out fumigation in sensitive localities of the provincial capital, where they suspect that there could be an outbreak of dengue fever in future.

Additional advocate general Syed Sikander Hayat Shah and Malaria and Dengue Programme project director Dr Mohammad Rehman appeared for the government.The bench asked the project director about the dengue situation in the province saying last year, the director general (health services) had apprehended that the dengue cases might increase next year.

The director said only four dengue cases were reported in Kohistan district, whereas the province had 29 suspected cases of the fever.

Orders fumigation in Peshawar areas

He said only two suspected cases were reported in Peshawar but they turned out to be negative during testing. The director said the situation was under control and there was no dengue outbreak anywhere in the province.

The petitioner requested the court to order the government to take both preventive and curative measures against dengue fever.

The petition was filed in 2017 when most parts of Peshawar were affected by dengue fever and people with the fever were admitted by different hospitals in large numbers.

Last year, the court took up the petition yet again after the dengue outbreak in several areas.

In Nov last year, the court had directed the chief secretary to ramp up preventive efforts against the fever and increase coordination among government departments to prevent outbreak in 2020.

The chief secretary had then told the court that in light of the earlier directives of the high court, the government had already begun adopting different measures to check dengue outbreak in the province.

The court had issued several directives to the government and observed that the mosquitoes causing dengue fever bred in clean standing water and therefore, the Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar should be included in anti-dengue campaign.

It had also ordered the start of a public awareness campaign about dengue fever and keep a check on laboratories carrying out dengue tests to prevent the overcharging of patients.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2020