Dengue control: ‘No effective measures have been taken so far’

Petitioner seeks fumigation, removal of slum areas and awareness.


Mudassir Raja September 22, 2011

RAWALPINDI:


As Punjab reels under the impact of dengue fever, a resident of Rawalpindi has moved the Lahore High Court (LHC), asking the city district government to ensure that residents are safe from dengue virus.


LHC Rawalpindi Bench Justice Saghir Ahmed Qadri directed Additional Advocate General on Wednesday to seek a response from the district government on a petition filed by Advocate GM Chaudhry within a week.

The petitioner, a resident of Dhoke Gangal, near Benazir Bhutto International Airport, has cited District Coordination Officer (DCO) Rawalpindi, Commissioner Rawalpindi Division and Punjab Chief Secretary as respondents. The petitioner maintained that the dengue outbreak has been wreaking havoc with life in Lahore and the authorities in Rawalpindi have not done enough to prevent the menace. No fumigation has been carried out in the area around his residence near the airport.

He added every citizen of the country has a right to live in a healthy and safe atmosphere, but inaction on the part of the district authorities has put lives of the citizens of Rawalpindi at stake, as the prevalence of the virus is going out of control.

Steps such as killing mosquitoes, demolishing slums areas, spreading awareness on dengue and arranging enough curative measures have not been taken by the concerned authorities. The petitioner urged the court to direct the authorities to take necessary steps against the dengue outbreak and make them submit a detailed report about the efforts made so far.

Meanwhile, the total count of suspected dengue patients in the three government hospitals in Rawalpindi has shot past 200, with 30 suspected cases admitted on Wednesday. The total number of confirmed patients remains at 41, as the public health department received no confirmed reports from the National Institute of Health Islamabad.

On the other hand, Rawalpindi DCO Saqib Zafar expressed his satisfaction with the measures adopted to combat the deadly virus so far. Talking to The Express Tribune, he said that in a recent move, the district administration has started removing heaps of garbage from the city areas and dumping them in Losar, in the outskirts of the city.

“Sri Lankan experts revealed that the dengue mosquito breeds on heaps of garbage after it is born in fresh water. We have identified 17 to 20 open spaces in the city where garbage was dumped by private parties, and the authorities have started removing it,” the DCO said. The DCO added that they carried out a massive fumigation campaign on open ponds and other water sources in February and March this year.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2011.

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