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As dengue cases surge countrywide, Pakistan’s hospitals run short of beds

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  • Beds reserved for coronavirus patients in Punjab hospitals are being given to dengue virus patients.
  • Massive anti-dengue virus campaign launched in Islamabad to deal with alarmingly high rate of cases.
  • High number of cases reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh recently.

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Hospitals in Punjab, especially Lahore, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are refusing to take in more dengue virus patients as they run out of beds, with cases of the virus surging across the country. 

The beds reserved for coronavirus patients in Punjab’s hospitals are being used to treat dengue virus patients, revealed a report in The News

A massive anti-dengue virus campaign has been launched in Islamabad to deal with the alarmingly high rate of cases being reported in the city.

To deal with the worsening situation, Islamabad chief commissioner has urged all stakeholders to launch an anti-dengue drive in the city. Saturday was the second day of the drive. 

According to a statement by Additional Deputy Commissioner (East) Babar Sahib Din, in the next four to five days, every street, in both rural and urban areas, will be fumigated.

“Today, major market areas in F-6, F-7, F-8, G-6, G-7, G-8, as well as residential areas in G-10, G-14, I-8, I-10, Rawal Town, and F-11, F-8, F-5 have been fumigated,” he said.

In rural areas, Shah Allah Ditta, Turnol, Jhangi Sayedan Saidpur, Mehrabadi were among the targeted localities.

Sahib Din said 20 teams had been constituted to lead the activity, which included staff from the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI), and other departments.

Of these, one special team is focusing on bus depots and another on mosques, where daily fumigation is ensured.

“All housing societies have also been told to increase their fumigation activities,” said the ADC.

“A team is also tasked with a rapid response for areas where dengue cases surface,” he added.

According to the ADC, the ICTA administration had also imposed Section 144 and legal action will be taken against anyone found letting water accumulate outside their residences.

He said assistant commissioners had imposed 30,000 fines, while seven people were arrested, two FIRs registered, and seven premises sealed.

A large number of junkyards, under construction sites, service stations, tyre shops were also inspected, Din said.

The DHO said Islamabad’s suburbs had begun to report a rising number of cases.

Punjab govt declares medical emergency

Meanwhile, the Punjab government declared a medical emergency at the public health facilities in Lahore due to the rising number of dengue cases.

The decision was made in a meeting chaired by the Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid, which looked into the challenge of preventing the rapid breeding of mosquitoes in the province and expressed concern over the possible deterioration of the dengue situation in the coming weeks.

The provincial health department also instructed all doctors on leave to return to their respective medical facilities to deal with the growing number of dengue cases.

“Recent rain spells coupled with humidity and a lot of construction work in some of the top neighbourhoods of Lahore, have provided a breeding ground for dengue that has engulfed much of the city and its adjoining areas,” Punjab Health Secretary Imran Sikandar Baloch said.

He maintained that the climatic conditions conducive to the spread of the disease were likely to continue until the end of the year.

Rejecting the claim that official surveillance teams were not doing their job, Baloch said the COVID-19 pandemic had already placed immense pressure on the province’s health system. The same medical staff is also dealing with the dengue situation, he added.

Statistics reveal that dengue cases in Punjab have reached 3,475 since January 2021, with Lahore accounting for 2,708 of them.

Officials say field surveillance had revealed the breeding of larvae at 2,580 places across the province, adding that 1,530 of them were spotted in Lahore.

Malaria Control Program Coordinator Dr Khalid Qambrani said over 1,700 cases of dengue had been reported in three districts of Balochistan.

He said deputy commissioners and DHOs of the districts concerned were working together for the eradication of dengue.

He expressed these views while talking to the media personnel in Quetta.

Qambrani said so far this year 1,750 dengue cases had been reported in three districts of Balochistan namely Lasbela, Gwadar, and Ketch districts.

He said the situation in these three districts was under complete control.

The Malaria Control Program is working closely with the deputy commissioners and DHOs, he added.

Replying to a question, Dr Khalid Qambrani said no death had been reported and the situation was completely under control in areas where dengue was present and the health department had taken all possible steps to deal with any emergency.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department had reported 304 new cases on Saturday, taking the number of patients to 2,456 out of which 247 are being treated in hospitals.

On Saturday, 93 people were diagnosed with dengue in Peshawar taking the total tally in the provincial capital to 666. Meanwhile, 27 new cases were reported in Mardan, eight in Swabi, 134 in Haripur.

Dengue is a threat to nearly half of the world’s population. Of the estimated 220 million people infected each year, two million, mostly children in Latin America and Asia, develop its severe form called dengue hemorrhagic fever. There is no specific treatment for the disease, though its early detection can help its treatment.

Meanwhile, as many as 44 cases of Dengue were reported across Sindh on Saturday, the Sindh Health Department confirmed.

According to the Sindh Health Department, 25 cases of dengue were reported in Karachi, 16 in Hyderabad, and three in Mirpurkhas. In the current month alone Sindh had 377 cases of the infection. Of these 188 were reported from Karachi. According to the district-wise breakup district Central reported 48, district East 46, district Korangi 42, district South 18, district West 21, and district Malir had 13 cases. In September, 603 dengue cases were reported. With six deaths, 2,345 cases of dengue fever have been reported from Sindh so far in the last nine months.



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