Fighting dengue: WHO sends dengue experts to Pakistan

Published: September 25, 2011
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Ministry of foreign affairs continues to look overseas for assistance. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Ministry of foreign affairs continues to look overseas for assistance. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

As local medics struggle with the swelling number of dengue patients in Punjab, the World Health Organization (WHO) has lent a hand to Pakistan.

The specialised health agency of the United Nations will send a dengue fever expert team, which is due to arrive in Islamabad on Sunday (today). “The WHO team will suggest measures to authorities to eliminate breeding sites and vector control measures,” read a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on Saturday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has actively been seeking assistance from abroad and has approached countries that have faced the disease before in order to learn and replicate their methods in fighting the virus.

“Pakistan missions in countries that have suffered dengue fever outbreaks and have successfully controlled it, have been instructed to approach their host governments to provide their expertise in dealing with the epidemic in Pakistan,” read a statement from the ministry.

The number of patients in Punjab has surpassed 8,800, out of which 7,900 are in Lahore. The death toll currently stands at 83.

In order to eradicate the virus, both the federal and provincial governments have taken several steps. The Emergency Relief Cell (ERC) at the foreign affairs ministry is also coordinating international assistance to combat dengue fever. A team of specialists from Sri Lanka has already arrived in Punjab. The MOFA has also revealed that the Indonesian government will send a 19-member medical team after a request from the Pakistani ambassador in Jakarta.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has issued directives to set up field hospitals in Punjab. Earlier this week Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired the National Conference on Dengue Response and assured those present that the matter of exempting machinery for fighting dengue from taxes would be discussed with the Federal Board of Revenue and the federal as well as provincial governments.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Subhash, India
    Sep 25, 2011 - 3:07PM

    I think that in such a time, we Indians should extend medical aid to our Pakistani friends.

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  • Brig (R) Waheed Uz Zaman Tariq, MBBS, PhD, DpBact (Manchester), FCPS (Pak), FRCath (London), FRCP Edinburgh
    Sep 25, 2011 - 3:25PM

    Our experience had been in such scenario to control the mosquitoe breed. It likes fresh water in the small collection like open water tanks, house plants and water for irrigation. Such collections has to be dealt with amicably. Personal protective measures are teh most important ways by covering the body and using mosquito repellent.
    In large outbreaks, all patients need not be tested and clinical diagnosis may suffice when the complaints an dfindings are classical (fever, rach, pain the back of eyes, joint pains and lethargy). No system can test all by all needeed tests.
    The etams from home and abroad will tell teh same thing but it is simple to do if dioscipline is maintained and everyone understands his responsibility.

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  • Dr. P.H.D. Kusumawathie
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:04PM

    In dengue prevention and control, elimination of breeding habitats of dengue vectors, Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus, is of utmost importance. In Lahore, Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus breeding was found in discarded containers (glass bottles and plastic etc), flower pots and flower pot plates (saucers), tyres, depressions in gully covers, tree holes, toilet cisterns, iron holes, clay pots, water storage cement tanks, barrels, refrigerator trays and other containers. These containers were on the ground and on roofs, both indoors and outdoors at all types of premises such as schools, hospitals, construction sites, high-middle-low income communities, business areas, tyre shops and plant nurseries.
    For effective dengue control, vector breeding in these containers should be prevented using appropriate measures such as burning, burying, cleaning the containers once a week, mass cleaning campaigns accompanying container collection and disposal, and application of suitable larvicides including biological methods.
    Space spraying (fooging) and elimination of breeding sites go together for effective dengue control

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