RAWALPINDI: At least two more people have died owing to dengue in the garrison city, taking the toll from the viral fever to eight for the year.
The fresh fatalities have forced the provincial government to impose a health emergency in the city, curtailing leaves of government officers.
According to a statement released by the Dengue Expert Board on Friday, the fatalities were reported from the Holy Family Hospital (HFH).
Sources in the health ministry said that the victims were identified as 27-year-old Sobia Shoaib, a resident of Tarnol Khurd, and 35-year-old Rabia Umar, a resident of Scheme III in Dhok Khala Khan.
Both victims had been admitted in the HFH and were receiving treatment for the viral fever.
Even though the women died on September 10, the hospital administration, though, did not disclose what caused the two women to die in line with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set by the provincial government. The deaths, however, were disclosed in a report released by the Dengue Expert Board on Friday.
The board’s report stated that samples obtained from the bodies suggested that they died of the virus.
A dengue-control camp office set up at the office of provincial health secretary has also failed to contain the epidemic as 127 cases from Rawalpindi and 198 cases from Islamabad have been reported during the past 24 hours. Consequently, the total number of dengue cases in the twin cities have risen to 2,882.
Meanwhile, Primary and Secondary Health Secretary Muhammad Usman has expressed his annoyance over the performance of different departments during the ongoing anti-dengue drive. He observed that all anti-dengue efforts have only been on paper.
He paid a surprise visit to Shah Khalid Colony, Lawyers Colony and Rawal Town — all areas where a large number of dengue cases have been reported from this year — on Friday.
He warned the District Health Authority (DHA) chief executive officer of action after dengue larvae were found in houses of dengue patients in the Lawyers’ Colony area.
“The wrong areas were fumigated and wrong premises were issued notices for the presence of dengue larvae,” Usman stated.
The secretary directed officials of the health department to clear the area and present him with a report within 24 hours.
Usman further directed the relevant authorities to immediately fumigate parks, nurseries and under-construction sites in the colonies.
“I will carry out surprise visits on daily in Rawalpindi and strict action would be taken against those who are found negligent,” the secretary said.
He informed that special teams have been set up, which will monitor the anti-dengue teams’ activities.
Moreover, he said that a sanitary inspector and his subordinate have been booked for fraud. The officials were supposed to carry out dengue surveillance and fumigation spray in Union Council-44. They filed an ‘all ok’ report but never visited the area.
Usman also visited the Attock Hospital early in the morning and suspended the missing staff. He directed strict action against negligent doctors and paramedics.
Following the dengue outbreak in Rawalpindi, the district administration has cancelled the leaves of government officials.
In a hand out issued on Friday, Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner Sardar Saifullah Dogar ordered the staff to attend to their duties as usual given the rising number of patients suffering from dengue fever.
Heads of all government departments in the district have been asked to implement the order in letter and spirit, he added.
As the temperature decreases, the number of dengue patients would fall, the DC said while visiting the Gulzar-e-Quaid area.
The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has decided to set up a free dengue awareness camp in the Jandala village of Sihala on September 21.
The camp is being arranged in collaboration with Sehat Foundation to sensitise the public about the importance of cleanliness and precautionary measures to tackle the dengue epidemic
An ICT spokesperson clarified that there are no dengue outbreaks in Sihala, but villagers were in a panic and were visiting hospitals even if they had a cough, fearing it to be dengue.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2019.