PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday sought a detailed report from the health department about the dengue-related situation in the province and directed the district administrations and sanitation authorities to ramp up efforts for controlling the mosquito-borne disease.

A bench consisting of the Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Shakeel Ahmad directed the town municipal administrations, Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar and other sanitation authorities to ensure regular anti-dengue spray in the dengue-hit areas to stem the spread of the disease.

It fixed Oct 27 for the next hearing into a petition filed by lawyer Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel for the issuance of directions to the respondents, including the provincial government, health and local government secretaries and Peshawar’s deputy commissioner, to take immediate steps for dengue control and prevention.

Declares situation alarming, seeks report from health dept

The bench ordered the health department to submit a progress report in this respect before the next hearing.

Additional advocate general Syed Sikandar Hayat Shah appeared before it along with programme manager of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System Dr Rehman Afridi and representative of the directorate general (health department) Saleem Javed.

The chief justice observed that the situation of dengue fever had once again getting alarming in the province as the virus was affecting the people in large numbers.

The bench asked the government about the anti-dengue steps taken by it.

Dr Rehman and Saleem Javed said the province had so far recorded 1,724 dengue cases and 140 of them were under treatment in hospitals.

They said Peshawar, Buner and Khyber districts were most affected by dengue and that 384 cases were reported in Peshawar.

The chief justice asked them about fumigation and the worst-hit areas in the provincial capital.

The officials said most dengue cases were reported in Sarband, Achini Bala, Pishtakhara and Sufaid Dehri areas.

They said the TMAs and WSSP regularly fumigated those areas and covered around 36,000 houses.

Dr Rehman said the programme had been holding weekly meetings with the chief secretary on the issue besides monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

The bench asked the health department and district administrations to increase mutual cooperation to minimise the impact of the mosquito-borne disease.

The petitioner requested the court to order the government to take both preventive and curative measures against dengue. He sought orders for the respondents to carry out a fumigation campaign in Peshawar to save lives from dengue, and provide the infected people with free treatment in hospitals.

The petition was filed in 2017 by Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel when most parts of Peshawar were affected by dengue fever and hospitals admitted patients in large numbers.

Since then, the court has been taking up the matter in view of the situation of dengue fever in the province besides regularly issuing directions to the relevant authorities for corrective measures.

Earlier, the court had ordered the launch of a public awareness campaign about dengue and a check on the laboratories conducting dengue tests to prevent profiteering.

It also issued directives to the government to fix uniform rates of dengue-related tests and act against the laboratories collecting exorbitant charges from patients.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2021

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