National and international health experts on Saturday stressed on the need to develop a long-term strategy to fight dengue and save lives.
They were speaking at the concluding ceremony of a regional workshop on dengue that was held at the National Centre for Physics. The five-day event was organised by The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in collaboration with The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and The Food and Agriculture Organisation.
At the workshop, participants were asked to devise short and long-term strategies for effective management of dengue fever. Speakers on the final day said there was a need to work on long-term strategies which includes scientific techniques to eradicate dengue virus.
Hospitals Director General Dr Zubair Hasan said IAEA’s involvement with the dengue epidemic is in large part due to the development of a long-term strategy and radiation sterile insect technique which causes the male mosquito to become infertile. “I think we have begun to develop that strategy, our challenges are to find a way to continue this dialogue and not just to continue it but to expand it in the future,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, PAEC Member Technical Ghulam Nabi, the chief guest, said, “We have learnt many lessons from this traumatising encounter last year which endorses the saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’.”
It was never PAEC’s intention to play the lead role in the management of dengue, he said. However, since a long-term strategy for its control was being contemplated, it came forward for capacity-building of provincial governments to develop methodologies that entail the use of radiation in one form or the other, Nabi added.
Pakistan has been plagued by dengue fever since 1994, Nabi said. “Last year, there were more than 30,000 confirmed cases and 400 deaths. The impact of this epidemic has not been felt to the same extent in preceding years.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2012.