Dengue fever is a year round risk but according to experts, monsoon season or a rainy spell provides a favourable environment for dengue mosquitoes to breed, thus heightening the risk of its outbreak.
It is a matter of satisfaction that government is cognizant of the threat. Chairing a meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif instructed authorities concerned to take preventive measures to control the spread of dengue fever.
He directed Chief Secretary Punjab to establish a special committee to take a holistic analysis of steps taken by district administration for elimination of dengue in 36 districts.
Given prolonged monsoon spell, there is a dire need to stay alert to avert any outbreak.
Already monsoon triggered floods have brought havoc in different parts of the country especially Balochistan and Sindh and any outbreak of dengue at this stage will make matters more complex.
Hence, as also suggested by the Prime Minister, district administration has a pivotal role to play and take steps on war footings to avoid spread of the virus.
The memories of the people are still fresh as to how Shehbaz Sharif during his stint as Chief Minister Punjab had successfully tackled dengue virus.
We are confident that this time too he will spare no efforts for safety of people from this serious disease.
Last year, a total of 48,906 cases including 183 deaths were reported in all the federating units with most number recorded in Punjab.
To avoid its recurrence it is important that federal and provincial governments ensure public health measures including vector’s surveillance and control activities.
Fumigation and spot checks must be done in high prone areas. Apart from ensuring better management of waste, a mass awareness campaign also needs to be launched, sensitising people as to how best they can stay safe.
The people must know that early detection and access to appropriate healthcare reduces severe dengue and mortality.
In addition, sufficient arrangements should be put in place to respond to any emergency like situation.
While community support is vital to defeat the dengue, we will also suggest central government to establish a mechanism at federal level on the pattern of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) that was established against Covid-19.
This in fact will help better coordination amongst federating units besides helping authorities to take well-informed decisions on basis of scientific data.
This platform should also develop short and long term policies to curb dengue and other viral diseases.