PESHAWAR: The health department is procuring larvicides and insecticides in large quantity to prevent the spread of dengue haemorrhagic fever, officials say.

According to them, the department recently received Rs173 million emergency funds approved by chief secretary Dr Shahzad Khan Bangash a few months ago and began procurement for anti-dengue activities in line with the Public Health (Surveillance and Response) Act, 2017, which was implemented in January 2020 to pave the way for speedy procurement of medical and surgical supplies to deal with the threat posed by the outbreak of coronavirus.

The officials said the law had helped the department make necessary procurement in time to fight dengue.

They said the district administrations had been asked to expedite spraying of chemicals on the recommendation of entomologists in dengue hotspots.

Receives Rs173 million emergency funds to fight infectious disease

The officials said larvicides and insecticides would reach the province in a week.

They said the health department had so far utilised its limited budgetary allocations to fight the mosquito-borne disease, so the procurement of the required chemicals for the areas, where outbreaks were reported, suffered delays.

Entomologist at the health department Salahuddin Khan told Dawn that the larvicides to be procured on an emergency basis could eliminate mosquito breeding sites and dengue incidence.

He said spraying of chemicals was the most effective way to significantly reduce mosquito production to protect people against dengue and malaria.

Mr Khan said larvicides should be sprayed before June to ensure people are safe from mosquitoes in the July-October peak season.

According to him, the drugs pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation along with fogging and spraying in homes can help reduce dengue burden.

“The district response units established in line with the Dengue Action Plan under the respective deputy commissioners have planned multi-sectoral anti-dengue activities in meetings held on a daily basis. Fogging is more effective in mornings and evenings when mosquitoes come out of their habitats and bite people,” he said.

Meanwhile, a report prepared by Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System at the Directorate-General Health Services said that 342 more dengue cases were reported in the province on Thursday with most of them being from Peshawar and Mardan districts.

According to it, of the total 10,743 patients, 8, 229 have recovered. The disease has claimed eight lives and led to the hospitalisation of 1,242 patients.

The report said 104 were currently admitted to hospitals.

The district health officer in a dengue-hit area said the procurement of ‘liquid spray’ by the health department was required to eliminate mosquitoes.

He said the spray also killed other insects.

“Our teams consisting of representatives of other departments visit the area, which reports dengue cases to carry out spray in 40 nearby houses and collect samples from suspected cases,” he said.

The DHO said mosquitoes were found in the province, especially in Peshawar, where five entomologists had deployed for control of the population of mosquitoes, which caused the spread of the virus by bites.

He said the department had purchased Rs103 million worth of chemicals to eliminate the mosquito breeding sites at community level.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2022

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