The Dengue has once again spreading in different parts of Punjab province. Rawalpindi is the most effected district of Punjab. So far more than 2300 patients were brought to different hospitals in Rawalpindi. In Lahore, Dengue larva was found at more than 1661 places when district administration conducted dengue survey. The patients also brought to hospitals with dengue fever in Faisalabad and Bahawalpur. If the Punjab government failed to act now then this disease can get out of control.
Dengue Fever which had become a major public health problem in the province of Punjab in 2011 was effectively controlled with effective preventive measures. The strategy to control this deadly disease was chalked out by the then Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and the campaign was spearheaded by Khawaja Salman Rafique Advisor to the Chief Minister on Health.
The Punjab government was able to control the dengue outbreak within a year. In 2011, the province had over fifty thousand cases of dengue fever of which over ten thousand were admitted and sixty eight deaths were recorded. However, but in 2012 only few hundred patients were brought to hospital.
The PML-N government in Punjab keeps a close eye on the situation and continues the surveys to find out the dengue larva. The anti-dengue squads were remaining active under PML-N government and it helped the government to control the situation. They were used to fumigation of different areas to control the disease. The dengue committees were also established to monitor the situation.
The PTI government failed to take precautionary measures to control the dengue. The PTI government did not take the fumigation seriously. When the first few patients were brought to hospitals, it did not start fumigation in the affected areas to control the spread. The PTI government did not activate the dengue committee and anti-dengue squads to check the spread of dengue. The austerity drive to save some money also affected the preparedness of the government to control the dengue. The regular fumigation and surveys helps to reduce the threat of dengue outbreak.
The government failed to intervene effectively and quickly to stop the dengue outbreak. The moved very slowly thus allow the dengue to spread. The government failed to activate the mechanism existed to control the dengue immediately after patients started to arrive in hospitals. When dengue started to spread then the government panicked.
The dengue cases are once again on the rise in the Punjab. According to the official figures, As many as 8,933 dengue cases have been reported from across the country, while 16 people lost their lives during the current year.
Chief of Disease Surveillance Division at the National Institute of Health (NIH) Dr Rana Safdar said that 2,132 cases were reported from Sindh, 2,076 from Punjab, 1,772 from Balochistan, 1,612 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,206 from the federal capital and 92 from Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Safdar said that within Rawalpindi, clustering of cases had been observed in Airport Housing Society, Gulbahar Scheme, Wakeel Colony, Dhoke Munshi and Kot Jabbi, while in Islamabad cases were reported from Mohra Nagial and UC Kirpa.
The district health department has confirmed that more than 2,000 patients are diagnosed with mosquito-borne disease dengue in Rawalpindi division so far. The district administration of Rawalpindi forwarded a detailed report to the Punjab government over the outspread of dengue fever among the citizens.
The provincial health department has failed to come up with an effective strategy against the deadly dengue virus, as a surge in the number of such cases has been reported from various cities. The question is, why dengue is still spreading after efforts and resources of the all provincial governments especially Punjab that led from the front in Anti-dengue drive in the past.
Pakistan as a whole is one of the most susceptible countries to epidemics of dengue. The conducive-climatic condition is the reason that offers suitable breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquitoes. In addition, there are other problems such as erratic water supply (that forces the population to store water in containers), poverty, and illiteracy/low education levels, all of which lead to poor sanitation.
These factors are further precipitated by the population and its density produce ideal conditions for high mosquito densities. Aedes mosquitoes become more active during dawn or dusk, with peak density in July to September.
Only female Aedes Aegypti feed on blood for egg production and lays its eggs in natural and artificial water-holding containers placed close to or within houses, including traditional water tanks, fountains, bird baths, and almost any containers that hold fresh water. Research showed dengue mosquito in Rawalpindi prefers to breed in Air room coolers, roof top and underground water storage tanks, discarded tires and urban trash.
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