As the dengue virus cases seem to be spiralling out of control in Rawalpindi, the district administration has decided to convert the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology and Kidney Transplant (RIUT) into a dedicated facility for treating patients affected by the vector-borne disease.
The RIUT, a dedicated health facility meant to provide treatment to patients suffering from acute kidney diseases, and where operations began on kidney patients in August, was converted into a dedicated facility two years back for treating Covid-19 patients after the outbreak of the infectious disease.
Sources said that emergency recruitments will be made to reinforce the health staff and walk-in interviews of over 2000 health staff will be carried out immediately so that the dengue patients could be taken care of properly at the RIUT as the other three allied hospitals were reeling under the burden of heavy patient-load including those affected by the dengue virus.
Currently, around 300 dengue patients were under treatment at the three allied hospitals of Rawalpindi — Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital.
A senior officer of the Rawalpindi district administration said that the rising number of dengue cases was putting excessive strain on the three allied hospitals. He said that the administration has decided to convert the RIU into a dedicated facility for treating dengue patients if the number of hospitalised patients reaches 500. Around 400 beds have been allocated for dengue patients in the three allied hospitals.
The administration official said that the RIU was converted into a dedicated facility for treating coronavirus patients when the pandemic was at its peak.
He said that the conversion of the RIUT into a dedicated facility aimed at reducing pressure on the allied hospitals of Rawalpindi.
Sources said that during the current dengue pandemic situation, hospitals in Rawalpindi were facing a severe shortage of health staff including doctors, which is taking a toll on the patients as well as the existing health staff.
The Rawalpindi district administration had asked the Punjab government to make 6,000 recruitments in the health sector, however, the Punjab government has approved the recruitment of 2,000 health staff immediately. The officer said that rotation duties of doctors and other staff from the three hospitals will be implemented at the RIUT for better treatment of dengue patients without affecting service delivery at the allied hospitals.
Meanwhile, 75 more dengue patients landed in Rawalpindi hospitals during the last 24 hours, taking the total toll to 1,654 in the district.
A total of three dengue patients have so far died in Rawalpindi while the condition of five under treatment patients at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital was stated to be critical. The number of hospitalised dengue patients has exceeded in the allied hospitals, prompting the authorities to activate the RIUT for treating patients of vector-borne disease.
Earlier, a team of experts from Lahore painted a gloomy picture of the dengue situation in Rawalpindi stating that the situation could worsen further if the weather remains hot and humid, which is providing an ideal ground for the breeding dengue virus.
In a report, the team had pinned hopes on the weather to turn around as the virus will die a natural death in cold weather.
A senior officer of the district administration earlier told The Express Tribune that a team of anti-dengue experts was called from Lahore to assess the alarming situation of the dengue spread.
He said that the team visited more than 2,000 hotspots and evaluated the performance of anti-dengue teams. The team of experts has prepared a 72-page report on the deteriorating dengue situation in Rawalpindi stating that the dengue mosquito was rampant in the city, Cantonment and rural areas.
The report said that despite measures and intensive fogging, dengue mosquitoes could not be eradicated.
It said that the current temperature and humidity in Rawalpindi was providing favourable conditions for dengue mosquitos to breed.
The report said that if the weather turns around quickly and winter begins, the mosquito will die its natural death or migrate to warmer regions.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2022.
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