RAWALPINDI: As many as 49 dengue patients landed in the hospitals of Rawalpindi and Taxila on Saturday, taking the tally of the season to over 500.

Officials said with the arrival of 30 new patients in the garrison city the tally rose to 97, including 30 at Holy Family Hospital (HFH), 39 at the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital and 28 at Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH).

They said 73 patients arrived from Rawalpindi, 19 from Islamabad, two from Haripur and one patient each from Attock, Jhelum and Nowshera.

District Health Authority Chief Executive Officer Dr Anser Ishaq told Dawn that a strategy for the medical care of dengue patients has been chalked out under which 300 beds have been allocated in the government hospitals and the number will be increased to 1,000 gradually.

Health authority’s chief says 300 beds allocated in hospitals and number will be increased to 1,000 gradually

He said a mobile health unit had been mobilised in Chak Jalaldin union council while focal persons from different departments had been deputed at the control room.

He said it was decided that private housing societies would be included in the anti-dengue activities from their own sources.

He said 80 teams had been trained by the health department and they are taking part in the campaign along with 4,000 focal persons.

He said that local chamber of commerce, trade unions, peace committees and other stakeholders had also been sensitised and taken on board while private schools association was also actively taking part in the anti-dengue campaign.

Taxila

The number of dengue patients in the town on Saturday rose to 19 and 13 of them belonged to the cantonment and six to rural areas.

Health experts feared that reporting of dengue fever cases from such a number of localities had made the situation alarming as it may increase the chances of a severe outbreak in the town.

Mian Israr Ali, an entomologist at the tehsil health department, confirmed that the number of dengue patients in health facilities was continuously increasing as the prevailing weather was suitable for the breeding of the dengue larvae.

“Dengue cases have increased due to more than normal rains during the current season,” he added.

Health experts and social circles attributed the massive increase in dengue positive cases to the failure of the civic bodies especially the cantonment boards and municipal committee to identify the hotspots and carry out larvicide sprinkling in the high risk areas.

It has been learnt that no fogging and indoor residual spraying was carried out in the high risk areas as per protocol.

“No anti-dengue measures including timely fogging were taken during the breeding season even at high risk areas from where in the past dengue positive cases were reported,” said Munazza Perzada, the president of a local NGO.

“Officials of the health department and administration are holding meetings but have failed to adopt a strategy as fake activities by the anti-dengue teams were also detected during a third-party audit of these teams,” said Malik Aftab Hussain, vice president of another NGO.

Malik Saeed Siddiqui, a social worker, said contrary to the past no anti-dengue activity or fogging was conducted and focus was being made only on sealing junkyards and imposing fines on trye shops.

He was of the view that the first priority of the health department should be to eliminate unnecessary water reservoirs besides carrying out sprinkling of larvicide on all of them.

A senior health official said the local administration had failed to launch an anti-dengue campaign between February and August and as a result there had been an increase in the number of dengue cases in September.

He said it was high time civic bodies, especially the municipal committee and the cantonment boards, conducted spraying and fogging on a daily basis to control the increasing number of patients.

“As per international health organisations’ data, the disease of dengue is a threat to nearly half of the world’s population while around 220 million people get infected each year with about two

million of them, mostly children in Latin America and Asia, develop its severe form called dengue hemorrhagic fever,” said Dr Asad Ali, president of the local chapter of Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians.

He said that there was no specific treatment for the disease though its early detection can help in the treatment.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2022

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