Punjab dengue spurt overwhelms hospitals

Persisting dry weather raises risk of fever


Adnan Lodhi/Rahul Aijaz December 08, 2021
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE:

Although the cases of dengue are at their peak in the province, yet lack of arrangements and mismanagement at the hospitals are making the life of the sufferers even more miserable.

To begin with, dengue patients are reportedly facing difficulty in finding vacant beds, and access to other facilities is beyond their reach especially at Lahore’s hospitals. Action to detect and destroy the dengue larvae also appears to be faltering in several areas.

The long stretch of dry weather is likely to make things worse for people who are being advised by health experts to take precautionary measures to avoid dengue.

Apparently due to the ill-planning and poor performance of the authorities concerned, the situation of dengue has assumed alarming proportions and especially in the big public hospitals the patients are facing problems due to the non-availability of adequate facilities in the dengue wards.

Patients are complaining of shortage of beds and staff in the major health facilities of Lahore, the Mayo, Services, Sir Ganga Ram, Jinnah, Lahore General, Government Nawaz Sharif, Shahdara and Kot Khawaja Saeed hospitals.

Along with coronavirus, dengue is a big threat in Punjab. During the current year, at least 135 people have died because of the disease that has afflicted 25,684 people in the province. The highest number of patients of dengue fever has been reported in the last two months.

Dengue fever is currently at its peak and the situation demands serious steps from the government as continuous dry weather is considered a dangerous season with regard to spread of the disease.

At least 45 new patients of dengue fever were reported in Punjab’s hospitals during the past 24 hours, including 33 in Lahore.

Two deaths due to dengue fever were reported in the province and health experts are alarmed over the situation, especially in Lahore’s hospitals where shortage of beds, non-availability of staff and lack of facilities are being reported.

Read Dengue’s vice-like grip over the country due to provincial negligence

“Indoor and outdoor surveillance and special arrangements at hospitals during this alarming situation of dengue was necessary but it seems that Punjab health department is not willing to do anything. At the moment the situation in the dengue wards is extremely poor, and people are complaining, but no one is considering the situation,” a senior official of the Punjab health department told The Express Tribune.

“There have been 18,202 confirmed dengue patients in the city. Currently, dengue is proving more risky than Covid, and it is unfortunate that inadequate facilities have been provided to the patients,” the official added.

However, Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Secretary Imran Sikander Baloch said, “Due to efforts of the department the number of dengue patients in hospitals has decreased and the surveillance campaign is also steadily continuing in Punjab.”

He said 470 dengue patients are admitted to Punjab’s hospitals, including 337 in the provincial capital.

“We allocated 4,837 beds in the dengue wards of the province’s hospitals and treatment of the patients is continuing,” he added.

Dr Ghulam Fareed, a senior medical officer at Mayo Hospital, said health experts were hoping that the intense cold weather would cause a decrease in dengue mosquitoes but dry weather had persisted for a prolonged period. He pointed out that rains were not forecast by the meteorological department during the current month.

“In this situation precautionary measures by the people are the best way to avoid dengue fever. People should not accumulate water at homes and take care of their kids during the ongoing season,” the doctor said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2021.

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