PESHAWAR: Despite having developed a comprehensive system to tackle the spread of the viral dengue fever, as many as 700 people are reported to have received treatment for the vector-borne virus following the recent spell of monsoon rains in the provincial capital. However, no fatalities have been reported thus far.
Health officials in the provincial capital have said that as many as 150 cases of dengue have been reported from the rural areas of the provincial capital thus far.
Speaking to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media, said that more than 700 people who tested positive for the virus are currently receiving treatment at a private hospital located on the Ring Road.
Moreover, the official said that the provincial capital has been put on high alert after a large number of cases were reported. Sources in public sector hospitals in the provincial capital said that thus far, around 50 cases have tested positive at the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) from July 8 to date. Of these, 38 were discharged after being treated. However, another nine patients are still under treatment at the health facility.
At the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), data showed that nine suspected dengue patients have been brought for treatment to date.
Data from the health department suggests that the Peshawar District Health Officers (DHOs) have dealt with as many as 490 suspected cases in the last ten days alone, while 60 of these cases have tested as positive for the dengue virus. Many more cases have been tested and treated at private health facilities in the rural areas of Peshawar, Based on this data, the areas of the provincial capital most affected by the dengue virus are Sarband, Sheikhan, Mushtarzai, Pawaka, and Speena Wari.
The health department source added that dengue cases have also been reported from the newly merged districts while no new measures have been adopted to mitigate the spread of the virus, not has any high-level meeting been called to discuss the prevailing situation.
The area most affected include villages located in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman’s constituency, PK-71 Peshawar VI.
No free tests
Previously, when a state of emergency was declared after scores of people tested as positive in lower and upper Tehkal of Peshawar, the provincial government had announced that it will offer dengue virus tests free of cost at public hospitals.
However, the government seems to have scrapped that idea and are reportedly charging as much as Rs400 per test. In private medical institutions, this goes up to as much as Rs500, a source in the provincial health department said.
After there was an epidemic of dengue during the last tenure of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in K-P, the provincial government had in 2017 decided to appointed 42 entomologists to prevent the spread of dengue cases in the province and the newly-merged districts. However, the senior health official of the health department said that no appointments have been made on those posts thus far.
To address the issues temporarily, the official said that the provincial government had reassigned staffers from the Malaria control programme to the dengue and eradication programme. Moreover, district administrations were requested to spare ten men per town in the provincial capital for fumigation. But the proposal, the official said, was declined.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2019.