Dengue onslaught


ACCORDING to media reports, three allied hospitals of Rawalpindi have received as many as 437 confirmed patients of dengue fever in the last four days, taking the number of total confirmed patients so far registered with the three teaching hospitals this year to 1,920. It is also worrying that the influx of confirmed patients of dengue fever at Holy Family, Benazir Bhutto and District Headquarters hospitals has crossed the figure of 100 per day.
What we witness in Rawalpindi these days is the natural outcome of the poor sanitation in the city and the lip-service being offered to the campaign against dengue. Meetings after meetings are held by local politicians and elected representatives, district government and health department on the issue and survey teams are visible every now and then in different localities but no practical measures are taken to check the spread of dengue. There is hardly any focus on fumigation and spray as was the case during the tenure of Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who was being ridiculed by his political opponents for his relentless efforts to check the virus. At that time experts from Punjab rendered valuable assistance to the then KP Government in addressing the problem in the province but now the province itself is unable to cope with the situation. In theory, teams equipped with necessary kits, sprays and medicine have been despatched to three sectors of the city to work from 0800 to 1600 hours daily but their visibility and effectiveness on ground is a question mark. Apart from fumigation, there is need for improving the garbage collection and disposal system, proper and regular cleaning of drains and nullahs and launching of an effective campaign to inform the residents about safety measures to avoid dengue fever.