RAWALPINDI: Education and health department staffers in Punjab will be spending their Eid helping curb the spread of dengue in the province.
In a letter issued by the Chief Minster’s Monitoring Force on Education, special monitoring teams, senior headmasters and staff of all schools in Punjab have been directed to participate in an anti-dengue campaign during all five days of the Eid holidays.
According to the letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, the decision was taken in a meeting on July 3 held under the chairmanship of Khawaja Salman Rafique, advisor to the chief minister on health.
Under the directives, all school staff and monitoring teams have been directed to carry out various anti-dengue activities on a daily basis.
Teaching staff have also been directed to send ‘android-based snaps’ of daily activities through email, as per the standard operating procedures, the letter reveals.
Terming it an unreasonable move, officials at the education department who requested not to be named have expressed displeasure over the decision. According to the officials, this is not the first time the Punjab government has cancelled Eid holidays of staffers asking them to carry out anti-dengue activities.
“Last year, I was told right on Eid day to reach the school and take pictures showing school staff and peons carrying fumigation activities and email those pictures to higher authorities on the same day as well,” said a teacher.
“It takes me an hour to reach my school and I could begin my Eid ‘holiday’ only after performing these duties,” said the teacher on the condition of anonymity. According to the teacher, dengue campaigns are not carried out so fervently on other days of the year and the Punjab government does this on purpose every year.
According to the government action plan, the first step of the campaign involves special monitoring teams and focal persons from the health department are required to carry out visits of schools and offices under their respective jurisdiction in order to ensure observance of the SOPs.
The second step of the campaign involves principals, headmasters and staff carrying out site identification, elimination, larvae siding and adulticiding through spray, mechanical or chemical means.
The third step of the dengue campaign during all days of Eid requires the health and education staff to conduct internal monitoring and evaluation. In this activity, the nominated focal persons are directed to ensure that all preventive measures such as spraying, cleaning of school buildings, special cleaning of rooftops and cutting of grass, cleaning of water tanks and removal of stagnant water has been duly carried out.
These activities are set to be made further difficult as monsoon rains are expected to last throughout the Eid holidays in the region.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.