Spreading to other parts of the province after wreaking havoc in Swat and Malakand, dengue has now reached Lower Dir where 32 cases were reported at Timergara Hospital (TH) till Friday.
Though the number is expected to rise, 18 of the 32 patients have been discharged, said TH spokesperson Dr Qazi Ikram. “The rest, including a woman, are still under treatment.”
Ikram, who is also in charge of the dengue ward, said two fully-equipped wards have been allocated for the patients in a bid to tackle the disease head-on. “However, precautionary measures are required in the society, and not just the hospital, to eliminate the disease,” he added.
Ikram said he has launched a campaign in the area to spread awareness about dengue and its preventive measures with the help of local clerics. He said the clerics gave an awareness speech after Friday prayers, informing people about steps to prevent dengue mosquitoes from breeding, such as keeping water pots covered.
“In case the number of patients reaches 100, we will shift them to tehsil headquarters hospital and rural health centres,” informed Ikram.
Meanwhile, 98 new dengue patients were admitted to Saidu Teaching Hospital in 24 hours since Thursday evening.
Of these patients, 34 are said to be suffering from complications. However, no casualties were reported in the district on Friday.
According to the hospital’s record, 298 dengue patients including 17 children are presently undergoing treatment. Of these, 75 are accommodated in the new unit set up at STH for dengue patients.
Focal person of the dengue cell at STH, Dr Wasil Ahmed told The Express Tribune around 28 serious cases have been shifted to the intensive care unit of the hospital. He added one person has been referred to Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar due to his unstable condition.
He said the total number of registered dengue patients at STH has reached 2,820. Of these, 2,480 patients have been discharged. According to unofficial records, the virus has claimed 32 lives, but official data places the death toll nearer to 18.
Members representing the district administration and Swat Scouts Open Group (SSOG) said they distributed awareness pamphlets among people after Friday prayers. During a dengue awareness drive, members of the SSOG and civil society also went from house-to-house distributing the pamphlets to families and educating them about preventive and precautionary measures.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2013.