PESHAWAR: As the number of dengue cases across the province soaring past the 2,000 mark, a higher court on Thursday directed the health authorities to take serious steps to curb the outbreak of the vector-borne virus even as health officials blamed private laboratories for creating panic by inflating dengue figures.
This was directed as a two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), comprising Senior Puisne Justice Qaiser Rashid and Justice Naeem Anwar, as it resumed hearing a case about the dengue outbreak in the province. Additional Advocate General Syed Sikandar Shah, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Director-General Dr Arhsid Khan, Khyber Teaching Hospital’s (KTH) Focal person Dr Farman along with focal persons of the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) and the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) were also presented in the today’s hearing.
During Thursday’s hearing, the court asked Dr Arshid and the additional deputy commissioner to file a detailed report on the dengue outbreak in the province within two weeks with data on how many people have been affected by the virus in the province thus far and how many deaths have been reported owing to the viral-fever.
Arshid told the court that thus far, as many as 1,600 people have been affected by dengue in the province. However, he said that thus far, no deaths as a result of the viral-fever have been reported anywhere in the province.
Justice Rashid, though, asked the health director-general to explain the measures taken by the provincial government to curtail the outbreak of dengue in the province.
The health official told the court that the health department has been fumigating the most affected districts daily, while in hospitals of the province, special wards have been set up for dengue patients.
“We have directed the district health officers (DHOs) to take special care of the affected patients,” Dr Arshid stated.
The senior health official, though, blamed private testing laboratories for spreading panic about the viral fever by allegedly artificially inflating numbers about the affected patients in the province.
The health director-general said that the private labs were carrying out fake tests in the most affected areas. He added that under the Health Care Commission, they have started taking action against quacks and fake laboratories.
On hearing this, the bench directed the health director-general to take strict action against fake laboratories in the province under the commission.
Meanwhile, K-P Prisons Inspector General (IG) Masoodur Rehman has said that they have fumigated all jails in the province against dengue mosquitos while they will install modern health equipment in jails to improve the environment there.
Speaking to media after chairing a high-level meeting on Thursday, he said that thus far, no case of dengue has been reported from any jail in the province.
To improve health facilities in prisons and prevent the spread of communicable diseases, he said that mini laboratories fitted with x-ray machines are being set up in different jails. This, he hoped, will save time and resources for inmates who require medical assistance. Additionally, he said that a solid waste system is also being introduced in all jails to address sanitation and cleanliness problems.
Moreover, he said that new prison building is being built at the Central Jail in Peshawar which is expected to open within a month. The new building, he said, is designed to house some 2,380 prisons.
IG Rehman added that they have also set up Technical Vocation Centres at the Bannu, Haripur and Mardan jails where more than 100 prisons are being trained for different vocational skills.
Meanwhile, a government tally of the number of dengue cases has shown that the number of dengue cases in the province has increased to2,073 cases, including 1,301 cases from Peshawar alone.
Of these, as many as 134 cases were reported within the past 24 hours, including 64 from Peshawar.
Health officials said that at the moment, as many as 362 dengue patients are currently admitted in hospitals of the province, including 114 which were admitted in the past 24 hours. Of these, 47 are receiving treatment in private hospitals of the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2019.