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October 24, 2019

Participants of ‘Azadi March’ may face health threats

Islamabad

October 24, 2019

Islamabad : The participants of ‘Azadi’ March and a sit-in (dharna) announced by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) in the federal capital would be at high risk of contracting communicable diseases including dengue fever and malaria.

Many health experts believe that in case the participants reach and stay at D-Chowk or elsewhere in the federal capital, they would not only be at high risk of contracting communicable diseases but also the visiting participants from endemic areas of the country may put the residents of twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi at greater risk of contracting vector-borne diseases.

The federal capital is believed to be not an endemic area on the subject of transmission of malaria though experts believe that the participants from endemic areas of the country if having infection may cause infection among local breed of mosquitoes.

It is important that the population in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi has already been facing the worst-ever dengue fever outbreak in its history and a severe outbreak of the infection is also going on in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from where most of the participants of the ‘March’ and sit-in are being expected.

It may not be possible for the district health departments in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to protect participants of the announced ‘March’ from mosquito bites through fumigation services and also it may not be possible to check spread of mosquito-borne infections including dengue fever and malaria in and around the area where the participants of ‘Azadi’ March belonging to other districts of the country would be staying.

Experts say that in case of a successful March and sit-in in the federal capital, the participants of the ‘March’ and the population in the twin cities would be at high risk of contracting vector-borne diseases particularly the infections caused by infected mosquitoes.

Many health experts say that the concerned government authorities should give special attention to healthcare of the participants in case of a ‘March’ or sit-in as the participants would be lying outside in the open under hazardous health conditions and would be exposed to various health threats and would be in need of proper management.

In case of a prolonged stay of the participants at the site of ‘dharna’, it would hardly be possible for the health care professionals to provide health care to the participants at the site of the protest as has happened in the past during the PTI’s sit-in in 2014.

According to experts, it is high time for the health planners to devise a comprehensive strategy or a planned outreach program to safeguard participants of the ‘March’ and local population from communicable diseases and other health threats.

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