PESHAWAR: The health department has enlisted support of religious scholars to scale up awareness regarding prevention of dengue fever as the humid and hot season has already begun in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“We have agreed in a meeting with health department that religious scholars will make mention of the preventive measures against dengue in Friday’s sermons. People hold scholars in high esteem and respond to their calls in religious matters,” said sources in Auqaf department.

A joint group of doctors and ulema have developed pamphlets, which describe the sicknesses and the required preventive steps to avoid the ailment. “We hope the strategy will work as situation is already under control but cooperation of people is required,” they said.

According to them, the scholars during Friday’s sermons will shed light on the preventive measures against diseases in the light of Islamic injections and urge the people to take steps against mosquitoes’ production by eliminating stagnant water pool in their respective localities.

So far 26 cases of the ailment have been recorded in eight districts of KP

The religious scholars will also urge people to undergo test in case they develop symptoms.

Sources said that religious leaders would prevail upon their followers to ensure clean and neat environment to stay safe from the diseases as healthy people could carry out their religious obligations effectively.

“People will be asked to keep the windows of their houses closed and avoid wastage of water. Religious scholars have also agreed to inform people about use of clean water in the light of Islam,” they said.

They said that ulema would ask the people to cooperate with the government to do away with the diseases and stay healthy to perform their duties.

The initiative is part of the multi-sectoral approach against the vector-borne disease directed by chief secretary recently wherein all public sector departments have to adopt coordinated strategy to eliminate standing water pools through use of larvicides and put brakes on mosquitoes’ production.

The education department has already launched awareness programme in schools where students are informed about the causative agents and preventive measures for the disease.

Local government department has also been taken on board to ensure continuous supply of water so that people don’t store the commodity and deny breeding spots to mosquitoes, the transmitter of the virus.

On Wednesday, Health Secretary Mehmood Aslam chaired a meeting of relevant officials and instructed them to launch special initiatives to scale up awareness across the province and conduct entomological surveillance, with a focus on combating vector-borne diseases including dengue and malaria.

The meeting was informed that so far, 26 virus-affected cases had been recorded in eight districts including Mardan with 10 cases, Peshawar five , Bajaur four, Chitral Lower and Dera Ismail Khan two cases each while one patient was recorded by each Lakki Marwat, Khyber and Kohat.

The health secretary instructed the participants of the meeting to expedite work on Dengue Action Plan 2023 including surveillance activities and case management along with inspection of households and containers for elimination of larvae. According to him, collaborative efforts among government agencies, health officials and community members exemplify a proactive approach to combating diseases and safeguarding the well-being of people.

“The activities meant to prevent and control spread of the disease will continue across the province till effective control of dengue,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2023

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