Health officials must inform the public of the threat of seasonal diseases well in advance so people can take preventive measures, Health Secretary Hassan Iqbal said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a monthly meeting with provincial and district health officials, Iqbal said that the disease alert system must be augmented. He said that if people were warned in advance to take precautions, there would be no epidemics of measles, dengue fever and gastroenteritis.
The meeting reviewed the measles and dengue fever situation in the province in detail. Officials attached with the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) reported that the spread of measles had been largely checked, but a vaccination campaign would be launched after Eid in the 12 districts that had not been targeted in previous anti-measles campaigns.
Dr Jaffar Ilyas, the additional director general of the Dengue Control Programme, said that the next three months were critical with regards to the spread of dengue fever since it was the rainy season. He said that only 11 cases of the disease had been confirmed so far this season and officials were working hard on looking for and eliminating dengue mosquito breeding sites.
The health secretary directed officials to make sure that all hospitals are prepared to diagnose and treat dengue fever patients. He also directed the executive district officers for health to personally monitor district headquarters and tehsil headquarters hospitals.
Health Director General Dr Tanvir Ahmad, the EDOs (health) of all districts, and the directors of the EPI, the Communicable Disease Centre, the AIDS Control Programme, and the Lady Health Workers Programme also attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.