LAHORE: Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz has reprimanded the health and district administrations when the Special Branch took up with him the issue of generating ‘fictitious’ reports on dengue larvae.

An official told

Dawn that Special Branch, Punjab, Additional IG Usman Anwar submitted a report saying the provincial and district authorities did not show the actual disease burden of dengue.

In his report, he told the CM that the teams dispatched by the health and district authorities were preparing fictitious reports of dengue larvae in various districts of the province. They were not going to field and preparing fake reports about the larvae even after recent rain spells, he said, adding that the current weather conditions could lead to an increase in dengue fever cases in Punjab.

The official said the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) also highlighted the same issue and endorsed that the dengue larvae reports were “engineered” due to the sluggish behaviour of the health authorities. He said the PML-N during its previous tenure in Punjab had given a key role to the PITB to control the dengue epidemic.

The PITB had developed an android mobile application for real-time information on larvae prevention, detection and public hygiene activities. The field officials were supposed to make entry in these applications by taking geo-tagged photographs of designated areas for dengue surveillance. They were directed to identify larvae breeding hot spots and remove them and submit two photographs as part of this process, showing the situation “before” and “after” action was taken.

However, in the recent campaign, the health teams uploaded fake reports of the larvae detection. The chief minister issued directions to probe the matter and take action against those found involved.

Meanwhile, the Punjab chief secretary has declared five districts high-risk areas for the dengue outbreak. They are Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan and Sheikhpura, the official said, adding that the CS assigned four districts to the administrative secretaries to supervise the dengue control activities.

According to the notification, the food department secretary would supervise the dengue control activities in Rawalpindi, the archives department secretary in Faisalabad, Housing, Urban Development & Public Health Engineering Department secretary in Multan and irrigation secretary in Sheikhupura. For the provincial capital, the Punjab government took special measures due to the greater risk of epidemic of dengue keeping in view the population and large-scale activities.

The chief secretary has assigned towns to the administrative secretaries of various government departments. He also issued terms of references (TORs).

Also, CS Kamran Ali Afzal and provincial minister Khwaja Salman Rafique held a meeting to discuss the issue on Wednesday and warned the officers against fake reporting of dengue prevention activities. The meeting was attended by secretaries of various departments, commissioners and deputy commissioners.

The secretaries submitted reports to the provincial minister and the chief secretary. Health Secretary Ali Jan Khan, the Additional IG Special Branch and the PITB chairman presented performance reports of the districts.

Salman Rafique said Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz was monitoring the steps to control dengue across the province.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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