Monsoon and dengue

There is no room for complacency on other issues even when faced with the bigger health issue of the coronavirus

Editorial May 15, 2020

It looks somewhat incongruous to talk of dengue fever at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is raging. No health issue can be ignored however smaller it is in comparison with the deadly coronavirus. Dengue appears to be less harmful but harmful undoubtedly it is. It is in the fitness of things that the District Health Authority (DHA) of Rawalpindi has started making preparations to tackle dengue in view of the approaching monsoon rains. A survey conducted by the authority shows that 64 suspected patients of dengue have been reported in seven tehsils of Rawalpindi district during the month of Ramazan. A relevant report presented to the commissioner says DHA teams visited houses and commercial outlets, and found dengue larvae at 61 places.

The DHA plans to launch fumigation drives in residential and commercial areas before the start of the rainy season to prevent the breeding of dengue mosquitoes. Attention will be focused on under-construction buildings and tyre repair shops where water accumulates. It will be ensured that water does not accumulate at these and other such places. All hotspots where dengue larvae are likely to flourish will be paid special attention during the fumigation campaigns. An awareness campaign will be launched to educate people about preventive measures to protect from dengue. People will also be sensitised on the importance of cleanliness and personal hygiene.

Dengue first appeared in Pakistan in a big way more than a decade ago, and every year a large number of people in various parts of the country suffer from this fever. Over the years, preventive steps have worked well to reduce the incidence of the disease. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, our health authorities have developed complacency in dealing with dengue. There is no room for complacency on other issues of public health even when faced with the bigger health issue of the deadly coronavirus. Nothing should be taken lightly. A small spark could cause a big fire.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2020.

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