ISLAMABAD: Procurement of around 6.2 million mosquito nets from India has been delayed indefinitely after the cabinet division refused to give a ‘waiver’ to the Global Fund to go ahead...
ISLAMABAD: Procurement of around 6.2 million mosquito nets from India has been delayed indefinitely after the cabinet division refused to give a ‘waiver’ to the Global Fund to go ahead with the purchase despite a no-objection by the commerce ministry and recommendations from the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C), the official said on Monday.
“There is no progress on the procurement of around 6.2 million mosquito nets from India as the cabinet division is not issuing a waiver to the Global Fund to go ahead with the purchase. In October this year, the Ministry of Commerce on the recommendations of the federal health ministry issued a no-objection but the government is not taking any decision in this regard”, an official of the NHS told The News.
Thousands of Malaria cases are being reported from the flood-affected districts of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa every week and people in these areas are asking the authorities to provide them insecticide-treated mosquito nets instead of food and other stuff as they are at the mercy of mosquitoes breeding on stagnant waters.
A federal health ministry official, who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, informed that Global Fund was insisting on the procurement of insecticide-coated mosquito nets from India as they were readily available and added that procurementof the bed nets from China, Vietnam or any other country could at least take six to eight more months.
To a query, the official maintained that Pakistani manufacturers also have the capacity to produce around five million mosquito nets but claimed that the donor, the Global Fund had some reservations over making that purchase and was insistent to purchase them from India.
On the other hand, the situation in the flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan is deteriorating with each passing day where hundreds of Malaria cases, especially the deadly ‘Plasmodium Falciparum’ are being reported, which is not hard to treat but is difficult to prevent, health experts and rescue workers said. Provincial health authorities in Sindh and Balochistan governments tried different approaches to control vector-borne diseases including Malaria and bought hundreds of kilograms of a new biological pesticide manufactured by the Pakistan Army to rid flood-hit areas of the menace but failed to achieve the desired results. Officials said they experimented with a biological insecticide developed by Defence Science and Technology Organization (DESTO) of the Pakistan armed forces, called ‘Moskill’ but failed to bring the desired results as breeding grounds for the mosquitoes were spread over hundreds of kilometres in the flood affected areas.
“The only solution available at the moment is the provision of insecticide-coated bed nets, mosquito repellents and anti-malarial drugs in the flood-affected areas where hundreds of people are contracting Malaria on daily basis. Thousands of people are sick due to Malaria, which has emerged as the major public health concern in the flood-hit areas”, Dr. Ahmed Ali, a physician associated with a Non-Government Orghanization (NGO) said.
Unfortunately, mosquito nets of international quality are not available and people are getting sick while children are dying due to preventable disease in the flood-hit areas on the daily basis, he deplored.