Leg-pull in health dept renders Dengue Program non-functionalAugust 5, 2014
Karachi: Peak season of malaria and dengue viral fever has begin in Sindh province with first spell of monsoon rains and will continue till December 2014, but Dengue Prevention and Control Program still non-functional from the time it up-gradation due to internal differences of top health department officials which has put hundreds of live at stake in Karachi city and other parts of province.
An official of health department Sindh on condition of anonymity said Dengue Surveillance Cell Sindh was upgraded into Dengue Prevention and Control Program about five months ago and the government had also allocated millions of rupees for the purpose of surveillance and prevention for year 2014, but unfortunately the program could not be named functional due to serious differences amongst big guns of provincial health department. Due to this rift many posts including data operators are still vacant.
He said peaks season of malaria and dengue viral fever has already started in the province and will continue till December as dengue larva breeding increases during this period. He informed that dengue cases are being reported from Karachi for last eight years but no concrete step has yet to be taken so far. He said the provincial government while keeping in mind last year’s dengue cases reported in Karachi had upgraded the dengue cell into a ‘program’ for better surveillance and prevention but the tug of war between officials rendered this program practically non-functional.
Meanwhile, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) has yet to start anti-dengue fumigation campaign in the city due to shortage of funds. Official said fumigation, preventative measures, biological control of dengue mosquitoes and training of doctors could not be started across the province due to the non-functional program.
He informed that dengue cases are being reported in different healthcare centers of Karachi on daily basis, but the administration of the dengue program is not sharing this data with the media for last several months. He said six people have already died and more than 200 dengue cases were reported in 2014 till April as per the last data shared by Dengue Surveillance Cell before its up-gradation.
He further informed that over 5750 dengue viral fever cases were reported across the Sindh province in 2013, out of which 5058 were detected in Karachi and 692 in rest of Sindh province last year. Similarly total 32 dengue fever patients died across the province last year, out of which 26 in Karachi, three in Hyderabad and one each in Mirpurkhas, Thatta and Larkana.
Secretary General Pakistan Medical Association Center Mirza Ali Azhar, when contacted, said performance of Dengue Prevention and Control Program is blew par even if compared to its performance last year and it seems that program has become totally inactive in province. He said the peak season of dengue has already started Karachi with start of monsoon rains and the authorities concerned should increase the surveillance and capacity of program to prevent people from dengue viral disease.
He feared that dengue might take epidemic turn if the proper monitoring and surveillance of dengue cases could not started on the earliest across the province. He said PMA always keeps the public health on top priority. He said general public should not be affected due internal-differences of Sindh health department officials.
Provincial Program Manager, Dengue Prevention and Control Program, Dr M Shakeel Aamir Mullick was not available for comment.
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