Anti-dengue spray : Principal blamed for fumigation fiasco

FIR registered against the principal and five others; teachers blame health officials

Raja Nobahar September 13, 2015
Anti-dengue spray drive. PHOTO: FILE

JHELUM: Jhelum district health department officials on Sunday held the school principal responsible after over a hundred schoolchildren fainted due to exposure to dengue spray at the school on Saturday.

They said that the fumigation was carried out without obtaining permission from the health department and in violation of the procedure.

Addressing a press conference at Jhelum District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital on Sunday, the health officials said a chemical that was harmful to humans was used in the spray.

The department also lodged an FIR against Nisa Akhtar Bibi, the principal, and five other persons who carried out or facilitated the fumigation.

All six were arrested on Saturday. The school principal, however, was released on bail on Sunday.

Most students discharged

As many as 136 students were affected by the spray and were rushed to district hospital, Sohawa tehsil hospital and Domeli Rural Health Centre (RHC).

District hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Shaukat Mehmood said most students were discharged on Sunday. However, around 60 were still admitted to hospitals when this report was filed. Mehmood said all the students were out of danger. He said hospitals had enough supply of oxygen, staff and medicines.

He said Jhelum was a dengue-free district as no case has so far been reported or dengue larvae found anywhere in the district.

Teachers union says health dept responsible

Meanwhile, Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) has protested the arrest of the school principal and filing of cases against her.

In a statement on Sunday, PTU President Syed Sajjad Akbar Kazmi and Rana Liaquat Ali said the health department and district administration were responsible for the Attock and Jhelum incidents.

They also slammed suspension of the education department officials “for the negligence of health department”. They said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should accept responsibility for the two incidents and not victimise teachers.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th,  2015.


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