ISLAMABAD: On the directions of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, the Inter-Ministerial Health and Population Council on Friday met to devise a strategy to check the spread of dengue.
The meeting, chaired by Health Minister Dr Nadeem Jan, decided to form an “effective and coordinated strategy by the federation and the provinces for the prevention of dengue virus to keep people safe.”
Dr Jan said: “We should develop integrated strategies for disease eradication in the context of lesson learned and experiences from the Covid-19. The Ministry of Health will ensure all possible support to control infectious diseases in the country. Federal and provincial governments should re-organise a comprehensive programme for the prevention of hepatitis.”
It may be noted that dengue cases reach its peak in October and from November daily cases start declining as the mosquito is killed due to the low temperature. Pakistan has experienced many outbreaks of dengue since 1994 with major outbreaks reported in 2005, 2011 and 2019. Around 6,000 cases of dengue with 52 deaths were reported from Karachi in 2005; 21,000 cases with 350 deaths from Lahore in 2011 and around 50,000 cases with 79 deaths reported in 2019 from across the country.
Minister says integrated strategies should be developed through Covid-19 experience
Punjab Health Minister Dr Javed Akram informed the meeting that a dengue expert advisory group was functional in the province and had played a pivotal role in devising and implementing strategies to combat dengue outbreaks.
“The surveillance systems and community engagement initiatives have not only helped in the early detection of dengue but have also raised public awareness about preventive measures,” he said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Health MinisterDr Riaz Anwar told the meeting that surveillance activities had been conducted to monitor and manage the spread of dengue disease in the province. He said the province had implemented a comprehensive surveillance system to track dengue cases and identify potential outbreaks.
Sindh’s Health Minister Dr Saad Khalid Niaz updated the participants about the enhancement of entomological surveillance, laboratory networks and the adoption of a multi-sectoral approach to reduce the number of dengue cases. He said the local government in Sindh had also been formed rapid response teams at the union council level for vector control measures.
Discussing hepatitis-C control, Dr Jan emphasised a joint strategic response with provinces and to launch a national hepatitis control programme this year. Through this programme, diagnostic services and availability of essential medicines to all hepatitis-C patients will be ensured.
“Global health security agenda is the top-most priority of the government of Pakistan. In this regard, for the first time in history, the government will host a global health security summit in November this year in which leaders, top experts and stakeholders from across the world would be invited,” he said.
The minister said the drug licence issuance and laboratories across the country were being upgraded.
“We are creating a comprehensive system based on uniform guidelines for elimination and recovery of spurious medicines from the market. In this context, Drap will sign a joint MoU with all provincial governments,” he said.
Computerisation of medical supplies
Dr Nadeem Jan directed the management of the Polyclinic hospital to computerise its medical supplies.
The direction was given during a visit to the hospital to review its performance and ask the patients about their problems.
“If the pharmacy record is not computerised at the earliest, strict disciplinary action will be taken,” he said.
The minister visited wards including outpatient department (OPD) and inspected the facilities being provided to patients.
He also visited the pharmacy and hospital emergency and met the patients which were under treatment.
Dr Jan expressed displeasure over non-computerisation of the medicine supplies.
“Uninterrupted supply of medicines should be ensured to the patients. Any interruption in the supply of medicines will not be tolerated and those responsible will be held accountable,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2023