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April 10, 2020

Field staff for dengue surveillance ordered to join offices

Lahore

April 10, 2020

Rawalpindi:The field staff including over 800 female workers on contractual basis and hundreds of other workers on daily wages that was appointed for surveillance against dengue fever has been ordered by the health department to join their relevant offices during the coronavirus pandemic as majority of them were staying at home since the partial lockdown started in the region.

It is important that majority of female workers and a number of male workers residing in far flung areas of the district have been facing problems due to unavailability of public transport and restriction on movement due to lockdown and thus they are unable to get to their duty stations.

The district health department has also received response from a number of workers in this regard who are of the view that it may not be possible for them to join unless there is availability of public transport and their movement is not restricted. The workers do believe that working from nine to five o’clock in the evening in the field and going back to home in distant areas may not be easy for them.

In the existing situation, the lockdown and the spread of coronavirus illness, majority of female workers find themselves unable to get to their relevant duty stations and almost same is stance of daily wagers according to district health department.

‘The News’ has learnt that the district health department has been asked by the city district government to issue orders to all the workers serving as field staff for prevention and control of dengue fever for joining offices and take strict action against those who do not get to their relevant duty stations.

Of a total of 1300 workers serving at the district health department on contractual basis for carrying out preventive and control measures in the field, some 450 to 500 are male workers and majority of them are in the field working on spraying (Chlorine) against coronavirus on various spots in the district, said Executive District Officer (Health) Dr. Sohail Ahmed Chaudhary when contacted by ‘The News’ on Thursday.

He said the district health department has started contacting field staff serving on contractual basis and those who have been inducted on daily wages though many of the workers are reluctant to join their duties.

It is worth mentioning here that majority of the field staff hired for dengue fever surveillance is non-medical staff and was hired for door-to-door indoor activities while male workers were carrying out activities in outdoor including identification and elimination of possible breeding sites and larvae of mosquitoes ‘aedes aegypti’, the vector that causes dengue fever. The EDO said the health department had been asked by the government to induct 2000 workers for dengue fever surveillance in the field on daily wages though around 1200 workers were inducted, “but I fear many of them would drop them out due to existing situation regarding spread of COVID-19,” he said.