Simple data collection based on hospital reports was not enough but maps showing affected areas from last year were required
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed the dengue control programme administration to start research-based work in order for pre-cautionary measures to be taken in vulnerable areas, a press release issued Tuesday read.
The simple collection of data based on hospital reports was not enough to control the situation but maps showing affected areas from last year were required for concerned departments — including local government and health departments — to be informed and take precautionary measures before the start of dengue season.
Presiding over a meeting of the Prevention and Control Programme for Dengue (PCPD) here on Tuesday at CM House, Shah said the dengue workers were carrying out routine programme, which would not create any impact.
"You have to collect a reliable data, not only from the hospitals but from laboratories to ascertain the actual number of the affected people and we must know which areas are affected this month/year and how much people were affected last year and what is the difference," he said, adding that there must be scientific method to tackle the situation.
The chief minister directed the dengue team to prepare yearly comparative maps of the affected areas, study the measures taken last year, and identify the impacts and weaknesses.
"You can assign the research-based work to medical universities for your guidance," he said.
Shah also directed the dengue programme to inform the concerned departments — including the commissioners and the deputies — about the period in which dengue mosquitoes emerged so that relevant institutions could start precautionary measures.
Shah was told that the country was facing an outbreak of dengue infection in all its provinces, with a total of 52,476 cases reported as of December 1, 2019, of which 13,283 were from Islamabad, 10,051 in Punjab, 15,521 in Sindh, 7,080 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3,386 in Balochistan, and 1,690 in AJK.
In this regard, provincial health minister Dr Azra Pechuho told the CM that the city's most affected areas were Central, South, East, and Korangi districts.
In Sindh, 15,521 dengue cases were reported, of which 14534 — or 93 percent — were from Karachi. Only 1,085 cases were reported from other districts, with major incidence in Hyderabad, Umerkot, and Mirpurkhas.
The chief minister was also told that a total of 43 deaths were reported during 2019, including 37 in private hospitals and six in public. The cause of deaths was mentioned as dengue haemorrhagic, fever, dengue shock syndrome, and co-morbidity.
It was pointed out that the number of dengue cases started rising in September 2019 due to heavy rainfall, high humidity and temperature, and solid waste disposal issues.
In this regard, Shah said there were various countries that received rain continuously but such cases were reported there. He told the Dengue Prevention & Control Programme team that he wanted them "to find out the solution and prevention through your expertise, research, and hard-work".
The dengue programme manager responded saying 2,697 (88 percent) of the 3,056 cases were responded for activities at their homes and more than 2.23 million meters' worth of space had been fumigated and sprayed.
Further, 11,925 rooms were sprayed, 1,547 patients received long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) bed nets, 13,495 Larvicidal activities were completed, and an awareness campaign was in progress.
With regard to Karachi's weekly date, Dr Mehmood Iqbal said it showed that during first week of September, 152 cases were reported and then kept on rising, reaching 2,470 cases by October's fourth week. However, the number of cases started declining in the first week of November, when 1,313 cases were reported.
The number further dipped to 809 cases by November's end.