Dengue Wreaks Havoc in Pakistan

LAHORE: Rana Shamim Ahmad Khan, former Deputy Speaker of Pakistan’s biggest province of Punjab’s provincial assembly was among the 9 who died of dengue fever in last two days. Mr. Khan was elected as Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker in 1970 and he was under treatment at Sheikh Zayed Hosptial, Lahore.

According to the health department of Punjab, six more patients lost their lives in Mayo Hospital Lahore on Monday. As many as 15,310 dengue fever patients have been reported so far in the province, out of which 13,250 were from Lahore.

However, unofficial reports say that the number of affected people is much more than the official figures. “379 more people tested positive for dengue fever on Sunday, taking the tally of patients to 25,207 in Lahore alone,” reports The News International.

At present, 1,422 patients are under treatment at various hospitals of Punjab, out of whom 1,199 patients are under treatment in different hospitals of Lahore. According to the health department the toll now stands at 182 in the city and 201 across Punjab.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif presided over an emergency committee meeting held to bring attention to the eradication of dengue fever. The meeting announced special committees for supervision of the anti-dengue drive to exterminate dengue mosquitos and their larvae at historic places, orchards, parks, gardens and cemeteries.

The Chief Minister has directed the authorities to conduct a survey of water tanks in educational institutions, all towns and private housing societies and an action plan should be made and implemented in this regard immediately. The CM said that the entire government machinery had been fully mobilised to cope with the virus and the efficiency of government hospitals had been enhanced by providing additional staff and machines.

The campaign against the dengue virus is also being used for political interests by all the parties. According to the local newspaper, “almost all parliamentarians from the city belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the party ruling Punjab, have taken control of the fumigation drive after the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif formally ordered formation of Dengue Emergency Response Committees at town level, appointing party MNAs, MPAs and office-bearers as chairmen and co-chairmen of these bodies sometimes ago.”

“They are even mentioning their designations, phone numbers, constituencies and other related information (on the billboards) in order to make a closer contact with the voters under the garb of the anti-dengue campaign. It is just like they do during election campaigns, an official told this reported on the condition of anonymity. Venation messages at various important spots of the city,” daily Dawn reported.

Health institutions in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad have decided to jointly fight against the dengue fever. This was agreed in a meeting held here at Polyclinic Epidemic Centre, which was chaired by Secretary of Capital Administration and Development Division (CAAD) Junaid Iqbal Chaudhry. The representatives of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Polyclinic Hospital, PNS Hafeez, KRL, Nescom, Ali Medical Centre, Shifa Hospital, Health and Services Directorate CDA and District Health Department, attended the meeting.

It was also agreed to hold a monthly meeting of private and government health organisations. Polyclinic Hospital administration will establish a research centre and library about epidemic diseases in the capital city. Twenty dengue fever patients have been admitted to Polyclinic Epidemic Centre.

The meeting reviewed the dengue fever situation in Islamabad and finalised recommendations, which would be forwarded by Executive Director of Polyclinic Hospital Dr. Shuakat Hameed Kiani to the Federal Government for taking preventive measures against the spread of the dengue virus.

In Lahore, medical experts from Indonesia are already training the doctors and paramedical staff regarding the treatment and control of the epidemic.