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Islamabad

January 2, 2015

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Can dengue fever outbreak be avoided in 2015?

Rawalpindi
Dengue fever outbreak hit population in Rawalpindi district more severely in 2014 than the outbreak of the infection in 2013.
The population suffered severe outbreaks in last two consecutive years that has raised many questions for the concerned government authorities of which the most important is that whether the city district government and district health department would succeed in avoiding a possible outbreak of the infection in 2015 or not.
It is important that in 2014, only at the three allied hospitals in town, well over 1,460 patients were tested positive for dengue fever while the allied hospitals confirmed over 1,155 patients for the infection in 2013.
In 2013, the responsibility of preventing infection’s outbreak was given to the health department solely till August but after that the provincial government claimed to have opted for a multi-sectoral approach. In September 2013, almost all departments operating at district level were assigned roles and responsibilities to check spread of dengue fever and till then, the allied departments have been working for the cause. However, a more intense dengue fever outbreak could not be avoided in 2014.
The district health department is working hard to find out reasons that why the outbreak could not be avoided in 2014, said Executive District Officer (Health) Dr. Khalid Randhawa while talking to ‘The News’ on Wednesday.
He said it is time to plan strategy for the year ahead and the district health department is collecting data from all the concerned departments to find out gaps that are needed to be filled.
He added that to avoid dengue fever outbreak in future, the district health department is planning to follow the existing model of coverage against polio. The health department is planning to launch door-to-door campaigns to create awareness among public and to carry out indoor surveillance activities against dengue fever like that of the anti-polio drives.
He

said the district health department is calculating data to demand human resource from the provincial government for the purpose.
“We have requested the district allied departments to do situation analysis and identify the gaps that caused the occurrence of dengue fever outbreak in 2014,” said Dr. Randhawa while responding to a query.
He said it is not important at the time that what the district health department has done instead it is important that what could not be done to avoid dengue fever outbreak in 2014. “We have requested the allied departments to pinpoint weaknesses not only on their behalf but what the district health department did not do so that a comprehensive policy can be devised to avoid outbreak in future.”
To a query, Dr. Randhawa said that media also works as watchdog and the health department is planning to hold an interactive session and a workshop with media persons soon so that a lacuna free strategy can be adopted for future.
It is worth mention here that so far, the concerned authorities could not use schools, colleges and mosques as effective platforms for creating awareness among public on how to avoid the infection.
Many health experts have repeatedly expressed that the dengue fever like outbreaks can never be avoided without proper help from public and there is a need to involve individuals at the grass root level to avoid breeding of ‘aedes aegypti’, the vector that causes dengue fever.

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