KARACHI: With the aim to improve health services, Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah has directed the health department to provide dengue kits to hospitals in Tharparkar and Karachi so the disease can be diagnosed and cured in time.
The CM said this while presiding over a meeting on health services at the CM House on Monday. The meeting was attended by health minister Dr Sikandar Mendhro, health secretary Usman Chachar and other senior officers of health department. Briefing the CM, Chachar said that 1,713 cases of dengue have been reported in the province this year, out of which 68 were in Hyderabad, 84 in Tharparkar and 1,510 cases surfaced in Karachi with three deaths reported overall.
Speaking about the reasons of increasing cases in Tharparkar, Dr Mendhro said that people usually store water in tanks and earthen pots for drinking and other purposes, in which the dengue mosquitoes lay eggs. He added that many Thar residents are working in Karachi and they frequently visit their villages, thus carrying the dengue virus there.
According to Dr Mendhro, under the Dengue Control Programme, they took samples of water from various areas of Karachi, in which they found millions of dengue larvae. He told the CM that the Dengue Control Programme administration has purchased 17,000 test kits and have started distributing them in the affected areas.
"Dengue is not a fatal disease. A healthy person has 300,000 platelets. When the platelets drop to 20,000, the patient starts bleeding and the disease becomes fatal," Dr Mendhro said. According to him, when a person suffers from dengue, he feels abdominal pain, vomiting, breathing difficulty and his blood platelets start decreasing.
"Its treatment is [similar] to the treatment of normal fever, except for maintaining the platelets count of the patient," he added.
The CM directed the health department to take necessary measures to provide timely treatment to dengue patients. He also issued directions to commissioner and local bodies for extensive fumigation in Karachi, Hyderabad and Thar.
HIV/Aids in Larkana
While taking notice of the rising number of HIV/Aids cases in Larkana, the CM expressed concern about the lack of interest by the Sindh Aids Control Programme team in stemming the disease's spread in Larkana.
The health secretary told the CM that there are around 1,500 Aids cases in Larkana, adding that the Aids Control Programme and Blood Transmission Authority had jointly conducted an inquiry about the causes of the spread. According to the report, he said, the disease has spread due to illegal blood banks and laboratories. Chachar claimed the team raided a number of blood banks and laboratories and sealed some as well.
Chachar added that the other cause of the spread is the reuse of syringes by heroin addicts. The CM issued directions to excise and narcotics department to take strict action in Larkana and other areas where narcotics are sold. "The Aids control programme must take action and start providing treatment to the addicts," he said. The CM also directed the health department to start a crackdown against illegal blood banks and labs across Sindh.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2016.
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