LAHORE: The caretaker provincial health ministers have issued an alert for the public and private sector hospitals across Punjab to take emergent measures after two monkeypox cases were reported recently in the country.

The instructions were issued in a meeting chaired jointly by provincial health ministers, including Prof Dr Javed Karam and Dr Jamal Nasir, at the office of the Health Services Director General here on Wednesday.

Punjab Health DG Dr Ilias Gondal, Dr Jamshed of the World Health Organization, Dr Qaratul Ain of UNICEF and others concerned attended it.

Both the health ministers reviewed the measures taken to control the virus after a briefing.

Addressing participants, Dr Javed Akram said that an alert had been issued to government hospitals across the province regarding monkeypox.

He said the Children’s Hospital and General Hospital in Lahore have been allocated for children and adults, respectively, with reference to treatment of monkeypox patients.

Prof Dr Javed Akram confirmed that so far two cases of monkeypox had been reported in Pakistan.

He said the Institute of Public Health Dean Prof Dr Zarfashan Tahir is the focal person for the alerts and other information.

The airport authorities should be on the alert for monkeypox. A helpline is also being set up for the public to get information about monkeypox.

The health minister informed the meeting that the testing facility for monkeypox was available in Punjab. Beds will be allocated in hospitals with reference to monkeypox in all districts. Dr Jamal Nasir asked the authorities concerned not to create panic among the public with reference to the viral disease.

He said the passengers should be screened in this regard inside the planes. The hospitals in all districts should be informed about the monkeypox.

He said that necessary instructions have been issued for allocating beds and providing PCR kits and other testing facilities in the DHQ hospitals across the province.

Dr Jamal Nasir said that separate wards would be allocated in the hospitals of both departments.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2023

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