Karachi needs disease control mechanism

October 9, 2014 Off By Web Desk

Karachi: With the growing number of naegleria fowleri, Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), dengue, malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis cases in Karachi, the mega city is in urgent need of a proper, comprehensive and well-coordinated disease control mechanism , as inefficient municipal system, overburdened government hospitals, costly private medical care system, corrupt bureaucracy and listless political leadership have resulted in making Karachi a very unhealthy city to live in.

Despite spending of billions of rupees on Sindh local government and health departments, the whole province, especially its capital Karachi, witnesses very poor hygienic and sanitary conditions, resulting in fast spread of diseases. Even the rare disease of naegleria fowleri is becoming common in Karachi, though it could easily be controlled with proper chlorination of water. However, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) like Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) is a classical example of inefficiency, corruption and mismanagement.

Before the Eidul Azha, the healthcare experts had warned of spread of the Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), but the government department did not take preventive measures, especially checking of sacrificial animals brought from CCHF-hit Balochitsan area. Resultantly, the cases of CCHF have started pouring in the city hospitals. Similarly, dengue that is widespread in Karachi could be controlled with proper sanitation and repair of leaking water pipe lines and overflowing gutters, but again the Karachiites witness a shameful failure of the government-run agencies to perform these simple routine tasks.

There is no viral laboratory in the government sector to detect the infections like CCHF and sample of such patients are sent to a very costly laboratory run by a commercial hospital, or to Islamabad. The biggest government-run hospital of the city, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JMPC), rightly deserves to have a modern virology laboratory with the facilities to test viruses like CCHF. Not only the JPMC, but the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) need modern disease control centers to check the spread of communicable and vector diseases and guide professional bodies and public how to cope with sudden outbreaks of dangerous bacterial and viral diseases.

The chief minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, health minister Dr Saghir Ahmed, local government minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, chief secretary Sajjad Saleem Hotiana, Commissioner Karachi  Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui , administrator KMC Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, KW&SB Managing Director Qutubuddin Shaikh, the heads of all cantonment boards and the vice chancellors of government and private medical universities of the city should take personal interest in giving Karachi proper disease control mechanisms, including disease control centers and even better diagnostic and treatment facilities at the government-run hospitals that are the only avenues open for poor masses to get medical assistance.

A proper disease control is closely linked to the public health, and here the local government has to play its due role. Sadly, garbage lifting and sanitary conditions in Karachi are pathetically low and it is shame for a cosmopolitan city like Karachi to brave heaps of garbage and chocked gutters. It is high time for the provincial local government department, KMC, KWSB, town administrations and Cantonment Boards to realize their responsibilities to make clean this city and help in checking the spread of diseases.

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