Looking back: 2010 was the year of viruses

Dengue claims 25 lives, 136 polio cases reported.


Tufail Ahmed January 02, 2011

KARACHI: It was a busy year for the doctors of Sindh who battled dengue, the Congo virus, swine flu and polio among other epidemics. They did their work amid a freeze on development project funds.

A total of 136 polio cases were reported across the country. Three people died from the Congo virus and 10 cases of swine flu were reported. A total of 6,034 patients with symptoms of the Dengue virus were admitted and 4,078 patients tested positive. Dengue fortunately claimed only 25 lives in Sindh.

Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed introduced rapid kits to diagnose the virus and supplies were sent to all government hospitals and the National Blood Institute and Hussaini Blood Institute. The health department also provided free platelets and megaunits to 1,093 patients.

A total of 136 children were affected by the polio virus in 2010 compared to 87 in 2009. This prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) and experts from the Polio Technical Advisory Group to express their concern.

Other countries have been vastly successful in battling the virus. For example, last year, Nigeria was able to bring the number of its polio cases down from 415 in 2009 to eight in 2010. India managed to bring its numbers down from 389 to 31. Japan will provide Pakistan $4.68 million to eradicate polio.

Swine flu was reported in 11 patients in the year 2010 and fortunately, the first lab to test and diagnose the virus was set up in Civil hospital. Additionally, six people were admitted with symptoms of the Congo virus and three of them died.

Flood losses

The floods caused five billion rupees in losses to the health department after damage was done to 106 healthcare centres and clinics.

According to the Sindh health department, they treated more than 2.5 million people from August to October. A total of 137 people drowned in the floodwaters. Around 1,444,485 people contracted different diseases.  Around 1,676 deliveries were carried out in relief camps.

A total of 426 permanent and 154 mobile camps were set up across Sindh from July 31 to September 15. Patients came with different complaints: 283,553 cases of abdominal pain, 171,129 cases of malaria, 43,727 with gastroenteritis, 254,485 with skin infections, 23,526 with chest infections and 393,490 with other diseases. Around 11,903 pregnant women were checked in the camps and 56,097 children were administered vitamin A drops.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2011.

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