Punjab dengue experts leave for Peshawar
LAHORE: Punjab healthcare experts have left for Peshawar to help their counterparts in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to control the spread of dengue fever and update the knowledge of physicians there regarding management of patients suffering from the disease.
This is the first time that Punjab healthcare professionals will be working in another federating unit for eradication of any epidemic. Two years ago, Sindh government had refused a similar offer by the Punjab government to combat dengue.
Chief Minister’s Dengue Research Cell in charge Prof Waseem Akram led a team of senior entomologists that would assist KP officials in dengue prevention, while the Dengue Experts Advisory Group convener Prof Dr Faisal Masood would be guiding the physicians there about patients’ management as no specific medicine was available in the world for the treatment of this mosquito-borne disease.
“The experts are going to Peshawar on the directions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif,” said Primary and Secondary Healthcare Minister Khwaja Imran Nazir at a news conference here on Saturday before leaving for Peshawar with Prof Faisal Masood. “Shahbaz Sharif gave us a blank cheque, directing us to utilise all available resources. Our teams left for Peshawar with fogging machines, chemicals and other essential medicines. A mobile health unit from Mianwali is also on way to Peshawar,” Mr Nazir said.
To a question whether the healthcare experts were being sent to Peshawar for political point-scoring, the minister said: “People living in the KP are our brethren and we will extend all-out support to them in controlling dengue in an effective manner. No politics.”
Mr Nazir said the KP health minister and the department secretary were contacted by Punjab government and they both welcomed the gesture of the chief minister who offered help for dengue control in Peshawar.
“We had a dengue epidemic in Punjab in 2011 and we sought help from Sri Lankan experts, and with (the help of) their technical guidelines we managed to effectively control dengue and treat patients,” said the minister.
Chief Secretary: Alarmed over the spread of dengue fever in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed called a meeting on Saturday, asking the provincial administration to guard against the menace in the province.
Presiding over the meeting, the CS asked the administrative officers to further improve the mechanism for dengue monitoring, surveillance and reporting, saying it was time to fight the menace before it resurfaces in Punjab.
He said in view of the situation in Peshawar, anti-dengue activities must be expedited throughout Punjab, adding that concerted efforts were needed to eradicate it once and for all. He asked the health department to impart better patient management training to the doctors of private hospitals.
The surveillance teams should carry out quality work, he said.
Mr Saeed said entomologists had been deputed in all districts and more professional could be hired if required.
He directed deputy commissioners of Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Multan to adopt a better strategy to cope with dengue during the current year. He said there was a need to work with national spirit for eradicating dengue.
He also asked the livestock secretary to adopt all possible measures for prevention of Congo virus, ensuring quality spray of drugs in the cattle markets being setup ahead of Eidul Azha.
Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2017