A total of 299 suspected cases have been reported in the Punjab over the last three months of which only five have been confirmed as dengue, health officials said on Thursday.
In a seminar on the prevention and control of dengue, held here at the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Health Department Additional Director General Dr Jaffar Ilyas said that an effective vector surveillance system had been launched in Lahore. He said so far more than 34,000 points had been checked for larvae of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito responsible for the spread of dengue, and eggs and larvae had been found at only 46 points.
Dr Palihawadana Paba, the head of a Sri Lankan team of dengue experts in Lahore these days, said that the arrangements made by the Punjab government for dengue prevention and control were highly satisfactory. He praised the inclusion in the schools syllabus for grades five to 12 of material about the disease and how to prevent it.
UHS Vice Chancellor Prof IA Naveed said that with the help of the Sri Lankan experts, and the experience of last year’s epidemic, local doctors and health officials had learnt a lot about dengue.
He said that doctors, politicians and bureaucrats had worked together to combat the worst ever outbreak of the disease last year. He also praised the media for pointing out various issues which had helped government departments improve arrangements for combating dengue.
Shaista Pervaiz Malik, the chief social mobiliser of the Punjab government, said that dengue was now more of a social issue than a medical issue. She said that 10,000 volunteers had so far been registered from schools, colleges and universities to go door to door to raise awareness with regards to prevention and control of dengue.
Health Department Director General Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema said that the media should act more responsibly while reporting dengue cases. He emphasised the need to improve the training of nurses in treating dengue patients.
Dr Waseem Akram, the head of research and development at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, said that there were two phases in a year where the dengue mosquito spread the disease.
The first phase, he said, started in February and ended in May. The second phase started in mid July and continued till November.
He said that it was important to control the mosquito population during the first phase.
The seminar was arranged by the Health Department in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.