Public should learn to cope with & prevent dengue mosquito: Dr Orooj

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MCI/CDA Health Directorate took measures on war-footing to counter, control epidemic

Zubair Qureshi

People need to learn how to cope with and prevent dengue mosquito as it is going to stay here. A number of preventive measures however, which are simple and quite handy, can be of great help in combating dengue virus and saving our houses and neighbourhood from it.
Director General, MCI / Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) Health Services Dr Hasan Orooj said this during an interview with Pakistan Observer.
In the past four months, when a surge was noticed in cases of dengue fever CDA health directorate remained quite active and took a number of measures on scientific basis to deal with the epidemic.
This was the time when dengue outbreak seemed to have gone out of control. As head of the health directorate, Dr Orooj remained actively engaged in fighting dengue virus on multiple fronts and succeeded in containing the dengue virus to a comparatively low level or otherwise it would have mounted many times.
“The entire staff of the Directorate of Health Service (DHS) including myself did not avail weekly public holidays and Health directorate’s 29 teams kept surveying, fumigating, spraying in urban areas of Islamabad where dengue was reported,” said Dr Orooj.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease. It is not uncommon phenomenon in Pakistan. It affects a certain region in various time cycles. Pakistan was earlier hit by dengue in 2011 and then in 2014 however, this year, its outbreak was quite high for the health experts. It is pertinent to mention he said that Urban Islamabad has atleast 5-10 times less as compared tomrural Islamabad anmd Rawalpindi. The key is utilization of Winters Window period and High Risk Mapping of the vulnerable areas.
We were expecting it to repeat in 2017 or 2018, said Dr Orooj.
According to Dr Orooj, after dengue outbreak, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza took immediate notice of the situation and daily held meetings with all stakeholders, hospitals, district administration and enforcement people to effectively. It is because of his personal interest and participation in implementing anti-dengue strategy that dengue was effectively controlled.
Dr Orooj admitted that low temperature also contributed to fall in number of dengue cases, however, he asserted the government too, took the bull by the horn and carried out scientific measures to erase dengue mosquito breeding places from various urban and rural localities of Islamabad.
We in the early years 2011 at the MCI / CDA level had constituted a Public Health Forum taking all stakeholders on board andOcarried out mapping of Islamabad according to level of incidence.
“This mapping done by DHS, MCI/CDA contributed a great deal to lowering number of dengue cases in urban areas,” said Dr Urooj.
We divided Islamabad into three sections: low risk areas, moderate risk areas and high risk area and made a strategy accordingly. Sector G-7 was found to be the high risk area as maximum number of dengue cases were reported from there. Addionally DHS teams took samples from the sector and carried out detailed microplanning. Besides, fumigation, sprays and fogging were also carried out there on daily basis so that dengue mosquitoes’ larva could not be grown there, he said.
In total, DHS teams have done fumigation in 32,840 spots and fogging in 19,375 places, he said. Besides we have distributed around 86,000 dengue-awareness brochures among public, he added.
About dengue, Dr Orooj said the disease epidemiology was complex in nature and patterns of disease transmission, was influenced by many factors including weather and environmental changes. NIH needs to do research on dengue and try to prepare indigenous vaccine, said Dr Orooj.
Dr Hasan Orooj urged the residents of Islamabad to take a few simple measures including ensuring wire gauze on their windows, doors and make sure water is not left in the open as dengue mosquito lays eggs in clean and uncovered water. Uncovered water is the best breeding place of dengue fever, said DG Health.
He also called upon the public to wear full-sleeve shirts and use mosquito repellents while going outside. Whether we accept it or not, dengue mosquito is there to stay and we only need to learn to live with it and take in-time preventive measures, he concluded.

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