Prime Minister Presides over Conference on Dengue Response

Islamabad: Federal Government institutions, UN Agencies, development partners, and all the related organizations are to provide support and work together in a coherent manner with provinces in order to ensure sustainable, economically viable, environmentally secure and locally feasible solutions for the dengue epidemic, said Prime Minister, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, in his concluding remarks at the National Conference on Dengue Response in Lahore today.

The Prime Minister extended full support and co-operation of the Federal Government to the provincial governments to face the challenge. The Prime Minister approved the setting up of National Strategic Response Co-ordination Mechanism for viral diseases at the federal level.

The Prime Minister commended the Punjab Chief Minister for dedication of 1000 beds to deal with the disease, for increasing the number of spray men from 300 to 1200, the recent decision to recruit 1000 additional nurses and the media campaign.

The Prime Minister said that the dengue had emerged as a challenging public health issue giving rise to the need of a thorough technical discourse in order to guide public opinion and policy making.

The Prime Minister said dengue was not a peculiar to our country. It is a global issue and Pakistan was just one of more than one hundred countries affected by the virus.

The Prime Minister repeated that there was absolutely no need to panic and we would be able to deal with this challenge successfully.

The Chief Minister of Punjab appreciated the initiative of the Prime Minister to support provinces through mobilizing resources providing technical assistance and strengthening surveillance for early diagnosis.

The Conference was attended by the Governor Punjab, Chief Minister of Punjab, Chief Secretaries of all the provinces including the AJ and K , GB, FATA and Islamabad who gave their presentations in the Conference and apprised the participants about number of cases of dengue in their respective provinces highlighting the specific actions taken for prevention , control and treatment of the dengue.

Earlier, the Governor Punjab, Sardar Latif Khosa and Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif expressed their resolve that the government was fully geared up to control the epidemics by adopting prevention and treatment strategies at the same time.

The Chief Minister Punjab appreciated the work of the Sri Lankan team of medical experts containing twelve members which is doing good job by giving training to the local doctors and also facilitating to control the spread of the disease.

The Chief Minister said that he had set up permanent dengue task force under the Chief Secretary Punjab who will submit his plan to control viral diseases including the dengue.

The Chief Secretary Punjab during the presentation said that there are 6100 cases of dengue in Punjab which was mainly among the males because they are more exposed to the outside condition than the female community.

He said that the resources have been mobilized by the Provincial government to fight dengue by mobilizing the community, launching media awareness campaign and providing sufficient treatment facilities in the government hospitals.

Chief Secretary, KPK appraised the conference that there were 218 cases of dengue last year and only 148 cases were reported this year but only 7 cases were confirmed as dengue patients. He said that the government has put in place a strategy to deal with the dengue on permanent basis. He said that in FATA there were only 2 confirmed cases of dengue.

Chief Secretary of Balochistan said that no case of dengue was reported anywhere in the Balochistan province.

Secretary Health of the Sindh government mentioned that most of the cases of dengue have been reported in Karachi localities like Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Korangi Town, Jamshed Town and Nazimabad. He observed that dengue is a social problem and fumigation alone cannot eliminate dengue vector. He informed that the provincial government has set up a Provincial Vector Institute.

Secretary, Capital Administration and Development Division (CA and DD) said that the Capital was also vulnerable to the dengue fever due to its proximity with the Punjab province and travelling of people between Lahore and Islamabad.

He said that CAD has taken pre-emptive measures to deal with the disease in view of its incidence in the provincial capital of Punjab. He said the (CA and DD) has imported four cell separators for which the Federal Government allocated Rs. 40 million.

The Surgeon General of Pakistan Armed Forces said that they had set up two wards and four hundred beds in C.M.H and had treated 365 patients.

It was decided in the Conference that the Sri Lankan team of experts will also visit other provinces of the country with a view to formulate a comprehensive study of the dengue disease in consultation with the provincial governments.

The experts and medical professionals attending the conference maintained that dengue is not going to go away in a short period of time. They were of the view that it was not a fatal disease and by adopting simple precautionary measures, people can make themselves safe from the disease.

They urged upon the need for awareness campaign among the people as an effective component of the strategy to deal with the dengue thoroughly and comprehensively. In this regard, they said, the role of media is very important for social mobilization, which plays a critical role to effectively deal with the disease, which is a preventable.

The experts were of the view that erratic change in weather pattern like heavy rains, humidity, and climate change were the contributing factors in the spread of the disease.

The representatives of the WHO advised the provincial representatives and others to ensure certified standards of WHO during spray. The efforts of the WHO were appreciated by all participants in dealing with the challenge at the national level. He said that Global Fund had contributed 21 million dollars whereas 51 million dollars were in the pipeline. The US Aid has provided 5 million dollars.

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