PESHAWAR: The health departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab have joined hands to deal with the outbreak of dengue haemorrhagic fever in Peshawar, which has seen five deaths and hospitalisation of more than 1,000 people due to the mosquito-borne disease.
In the day, KP health minister Shahram Tarakai thanked the Punjab government for offering help to handle the situation through coordinated efforts by the relevant departments and insisted that the local authorities was capable of taking corrective steps.
However, in the evening, Punjab health department’s two mobile vehicles laden with X-rays and other diagnostic facilities reached the capital city to carry out screening of the people in the endemic areas.
The teamsent by the Punjab government has the services of doctors and epidemiologists, who will visit the endemic localities, especially Tehkal, to examine the situation and take appropriate measures.
The team assigned the task by Punjab to help KP’s authorities cope with the outbreak has also brought larvicides along to sprinkle on stagnant water’s pools and destroy the potential breeding sites of mosquitoes.
The team with surveillance experts will stay in the city as long as the KP government wanted it.
Accompanied by MPA Shaukat Yousafzai and deputy commissioner Saqib Aslam Raza, the minister said a cell had been established to issue centralised data on dengue outbreak on daily basis.
“All hospitals have been alerted to provide prompt diagnostic and treatment services to patients free of charge and fumigation is being done in the infected areas,” he said.
He also said the Public Health Reference Laboratory had also started operation at the Khyber Medical University to confirm the virus in the suspected patients.
“Besides public sector hospitals, we have also directed private hospitals to set up facilitation centres for suspected patients and inform the health department about the situation,” he said.
The minister said there was no need to panic as the situation was under control and all the desired steps have been taken to stem tide of the ailment,” he said.
He said 146 patients were under treatment at the KTH, which had so far admitted 344 infected people.
District nazim Arbab Mohammad Asim said the administration had begun public awareness campaigns in the dengue-hit areas to prevent people from the vector-borne disease.
He said the people were being advised to check utensils and flowerpots to ensure that water doesn’t accumulate there and thus, denying breeding spots to mosquitoes.
The nazim said the people were also being advised to use impregnated bed nets while asleep to prevent mosquito bites.
“We are asking people to contact doctors in case they develop symptoms of dengue,” he said.
Sources in the KTH told Dawn that the situation with regard to dengue outbreak could snowball into major health issue if immediate measures weren’t taken.
They said the hospital had spent more than Rs6 million on the free treatment of dengue patients but was short of nurses to handle the influx of suspected cases.
“More than 1,000 patients have so far tested positive for dengue,” they said.
Meanwhile, Dr Abid Khan Niazi, medical officer of the Mobile Health Unit, Punjab, told Dawn that his team had come to Peshawar on the directives of Punjab government to help the local authorities control the outbreak of dengue fever.
“We will visit the dengue-hit areas to carry out screening and set line of treatment. We will stay here as long as required,” he said, adding that he was hopeful that the situation would come under control soon.