Health Secretary Capt (retd) Arif Nadeem has directed officers in his department to pay special attention to vector surveillance for the effective control of the dengue mosquito. In accordance with the action plan, he has asked that all necessary arrangements be ensured to check the outbreak of dengue virus in Lahore as well as other districts.
Capt (retd) Nadeem was addressing a meeting at his office on Tuesday to review dengue control arrangements. Special assistant to the chief minister MPA Khwaja Salman Rafique, Special Health Secretary Dawood Bareach, Director General (Health) Dr Zahid Pervaiz, Lahore EDO (Health) Dr Inamul Haq, Institute of Public Health Dean Prof Tajammul, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Entomology Department head Prof Dr Wasim Akram, Services Hospital associate professor Dr Tayyaba Khawar Butt, CDC director Dr Mubashar Malik and Jinnah Hospital medical superintendent Dr Afzal Shaheen attended the meeting.
Prof Akram said a random surveillance exercise had been undertaken by the students of the entomology department. The study found that so far dengue larvae were not present in Faisalabad. The health secretary directed that the students also conduct a one-week surveillance exercise in Lahore for random checking of the larvae.
Capt Nadeem directed Prof Tajammul to submit a report within 72 hours after going through the records of dengue patients at the union council level pointing out which union councils were more vulnerable so that special attention could be given there. Dr Tajammul and Dr Inamul Haq told the meeting that because of the low temperature, dengue larvae was not found in the samples collected from parks and open areas.
The health secretary directed that the functioning of High Dependency Units (HDUs) established in teaching and DHQ hospitals last year should be kept ready so that patients could be given best treatment facilities.
The experts informed Capt (retd) Nadeem that currently, spray and fogging for dengue mosquito control was not necessary due to the low temperature and there was no evidence of dengue larvae in open places.
Capt (retd) Nadeem directed that maintenance and repair work of fogging machines and spray pumps should immediately be undertaken and these machineries be kept ready to avoid any difficulty in the coming season.
He directed that availability of spray pumps and foggers along with chemicals should be ensured.
Dr Malik informed the meeting that during the previous season a majority of dengue cases was reported from Ravi Town, Data Ganj Bakhsh Town, Samanabad and Gulberg Town. Rafique said that arrangements for vector surveillance and dengue control must be ensured in all sensitive districts including Lahore.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2012.