While the threat of Covid-19 has temporarily dwindled, Pakistan continues to face a host of dangerous diseases that resurge annually and adversely affect the health of citizens. In this regard, health officials in Rawalpindi were baffled to detect large number of dengue mosquito larvae at 16,000 different locations — 15,601 houses and 1,000 other localities — during indoor and outdoor surveillance campaigns. This is indeed an alarming revelation which could lead to a deadly outbreak in the near future.
It is believed that these dengue larvae have been breeding on a large scale during the ongoing monsoon season that saw many places inundated with water. Where there is stagnant water, dengue mosquitoes are bound to increase in number and become a health threat. The district has been carrying out anti-dengue campaigns but unfortunately implementation has been lacking as 99 locations were left out and fake activities were recorded in 377 locations. Officials have taken timely action by registering FIRs, sealing buildings, issuing challans and enforcing dengue SOPs but a systematic action plan must be carried out to destroy breeding grounds before these larvae mature. The ordeal also indicates the importance of draining rainwater in a timely manner. But with many provinces across Pakistan witnessing unprecedented levels of rain, dengue could very well escalate into a national health crisis. This merits attention from the very top.
Surveillance campaigns must be carried out across flood affected areas to identify and destroy breeding grounds. Urban cities must issue dengue SOPs and work towards draining the remaining water left in affected localities. Abandoned buildings along with ponds, pools and other bodies of water in recreational spaces must not be left unchecked. But most importantly, the healthcare sector must be notified and well-equipped to deal with any outbreak.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2022.
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