MULTAN - The dengue cases are being reported from different areas of Punjab since April 2011 but the health department kept brushing every thing under the carpet to conceal this issue, The Nation has learnt.
Sources disclosed that at least four dengue positive patients were brought to Nishtar Hospital from different areas of the province like Jhang, Bhakkar, Muzaffargarh and Layyah in the month of April. However, neither did the local health officials nor Nishtar administration informed government as a result of which the dengue fever broke out like an epidemic in entire province by the end of August. Thousands of citizens have so far fallen prey to the killer mosquito while dozens lost their lives, thanks to the conventional culture of neglect.
Keeping in view the scale of epidemic, the Sri Lankan health experts, who are currently visiting Pakistan, anticipate that the elimination of Dengue mosquito from Pakistan will take at least 10 years.
Sources revealed that a patient namely Inayat Ullah, resident of Bhakhar, was brought to Nishtar Hospital on April 14, 2011 and he was tested positive for dengue fever. Similarly, Waseem Abbas of Jhang was admitted to the same hospital on April 15, Samreen of Jhuggiwala, Tehsil Jatoi, district Muzaffargarh on April 19 and Zulqarnain of Kot Sultan Layyah on April 23. All of them were found suffering from dengue fever.
Although the Punjab government and health department have launched a 'massive media campaign against the dengue mosquito in September, this belated response has failed to achieve any result. Cosmetic measures like pamphlets, banners, slogans and speeches cant kill the mosquito. If the rulers are sincere to prevent the masses from this epidemic they need to adopt practical measures, said a social worker Azeem Khan doing fumigation of his area on self-help basis. He was of the opinion that billions of rupees from public exchequer were spoiled on advertisement campaign by the Punjab government. Had this money been spent properly on a timely fumigation campaign, the epidemic would not have broken out in Punjab, he maintained. He said that the residents of different areas of Multan carried out fogging of their areas on self-help basis as no health official turned up there to spray their area.
Dengue patients number rise to 202 in Multan
Meanwhile, the total number of dengue patients brought to Nishtar Hospital in recent days has risen to 202. Out of total, at least 120 were tested positive and 46 negative while the result of 36 others is awaited. Sources said that currently 39 patients were under treatment at the hospital while rest of all were discharged.
Earlier, the health department claimed that all the patients suffering from dengue fever had travelled to Lahore. However, later on at least nine such patients were traced, who had not travelled to Lahore since long.