The situation in Rawalpindi continues to worsen as at least 11 more people have tested positive for dengue fever in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of reported cases this year to 81.
In a high level meeting on Friday, Punjab Health Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik directed all secretaries of allied departments to play their role with full responsibility on a ‘war-footing’ against the disease.
The health secretary has come to Rawalpindi from Lahore on the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who expressed serious reservations over the increasing number of dengue fever cases in the city.
Malik is likely to stay for at least a week to closely monitor the situation and galvanise efforts in controlling the disease.
A senior official of the district health department told The Express Tribune that thus far, 45 people had tested positive for dengue fever at Holy Family Hospital, seven at District Headquarter Hospital and the remainder at Benazir Bhutto Hospital.
The official added that secretaries of all allied departments across Punjab were present at the meeting, including officials from Tehsil municipal administrations, water and sanitation, and the police force.
Meanwhile, Auqaf department secretaries were directed to ensure awareness among the public regarding precautionary measures through mosque announcements.
Surveillance team heads were asked to focus on areas like Rawal Town, Cantonment and Potohar Town, from where the majority of cases emerge, the official said.
Rawal Town remained a hot spot for dengue mosquitoes last year as well.
Rawalpindi police departments have been asked to closely monitor their jurisdictions for potential dengue breeding grounds, the official said, adding that dengue larva was found recently from one of the water coolers inside a police station.
When contacted, the health secretary said the reason behind resurging cases in early August was the early onset of the monsoon season.
He added that certain areas faced issues of solid waste management and sanitation, and that the relevant environment departments have been directed to work more effectively in tackling the disease.
The secretary said that all allied departments had started a campaign against the disease in the hopes of lowering the number of cases within 10 to 15 days.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2015.
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