The Punjab government has provided Rs514 million as a supplementary grant to the health department and the Lahore district government to cover expenses incurred in the aftermath of dengue, The Express Tribune has learnt. These included covering the costs of medical tests, purchases of insecticide and foggers, funds for the awareness campaign and payment to the visiting Sri Lankan experts.
The Lahore city district government was provided with Rs364 million. Of this amount, Rs150 million was provided for the purchase of medicines, equipment and to fund the Sri Lankan team’s visit. Furthermore, Rs50 million was provided to launch a public awareness campaign to adopt precautionary measures in the city and the remaining Rs63.65 million was provided for the purchase of 500,000 kits of repellents and medicines to fight off mosquitoes.
Over 13,000 cases of dengue have been confirmed in public sector hospitals in the province. Of these, over 11,500 were reported in Lahore, while Faisalabad takes second place in the highest number of cases.
The virus has claimed lives of as many as 152 people in Punjab, out of which 140 deaths had been reported in Lahore alone.
Demands for further supplementary funds to control the fast spreading epidemic were being received particularly from the Lahore city district government, said an official requesting anonymity.
The grant was provided in addition to the routine budgeted funds allocated to the health department and city governments for the purchase of insecticide sprays to kill mosquitoes in urban localities, he added.
In addition to the funds, the government had fully engaged the manpower of four departments to prioritise the eradication and awareness of dengue in the province, particularly in Lahore.
However, there was no ‘extraordinary work’ involved in the departments except an exercise on how to control dengue.
These departments were agriculture, forest and wildlife, industries and irrigation.
Out of the total funds, Rs150 million has been provided to the health department for the procurement of Dextran, blood transfusion and hematology analysers and other consumables items related to dengue treatment.
Dengue cases have also been reported in Multan, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, Vehari, Muzaffargarh, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur, Chakwal, Gujrat and Sialkot said an official of the health department. Deaths had been reported in Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh and Rawalpindi.
However, not a single penny was released as supplementary grant for other districts where dengue had also been reported and the funds provided to health department were being utilised only for Lahore.
No such arrangements or funds have been provided to other districts for doing the exact same thing, said an official.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2011.
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