Deflecting responsibility? : Four dengue patients die in last three weeks

Haripur DHO says he cannot confirm dengue as they were being treated in private hospitals.

Muhammad Sadaqat October 10, 2014

HARIPUR: Four people including a policeman have died after contracting dengue in the last three weeks, however, district health authorities have refused to confirm the fatalities were indeed dengue-related.

According to an official at the health department, several suspected and confirmed dengue cases have been reported from Kot Najeebullah, Dingi, Khalabat Township, Sera-e-Gadai, Sera-e-Nehmat Khan and Pandak.

The four patients who died of dengue have been identified as 24-year-old constable Shehzad and 21-year-old Basharat; both men were residents Kot Najeebullah. The other two patients were Suleman Younas, 30 and Anwar Ali, 24, residents of Dingi. Shehzad died on September 21, while the remaining three died last week.

The diagnosis of Younas and Ali was confirmed by the National Institute of Health, Islamabad as both of them were being treated at Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi where they died. No official confirmation of Shehzad and Basharat being dengue-positive could be obtained because they died at private hospitals.


DHO Dr Zakim Khan Wazir told The Express Tribune that Younas and Ali’s death in a Rawalpindi hospital have been brought to his notice. However, he said he could not confirm if they died of dengue because they had not been registered or treated at any Haripur hospital.

Wazir also said he had not received a report from NIH confirming the presence of the virus in the two men.

Talking about Basharat and Shehzad, the DHO said, “Unless a patient is registered with a government health facility and diagnosed with dengue I cannot take the responsibility of terming them dengue-positive.”

Wazir could not comment with any surety that the deceased patients were infected in Haripur. “If for a moment we assume that they did have dengue, they could have contracted the virus from somewhere other than Haripur,” he added.

In response to a question, Wazir confirmed during the past two months, District Headquarters Hospital Haripur registered 87 suspected cases dengue and blood samples had been sent to NIH. Of these, 20 patients were confirmed to be infected, 35 tested negative for the virus and the result of 32 samples is awaited.

Wazir maintained union councils at high-risk had been fumigated with anti-dengue spray and awareness sessions had also been held.

On September 26, a pregnant woman from Mansehra who was dengue-positive died on the operating table during a C-Section at Ayub Medical Complex in Abbottabad.

Her unborn child also died. However, the hospital officials denied her death was related to dengue saying gynaecological complications led to her demise.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2014.


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