Pakistan is once again grappling with the alarming spread of dengue fever. The identification of 26,000 dengue hotspots in Lahore alone is a cause for serious concern, especially considering the rising number of cases in the city. Currently, there are 270 confirmed positive cases, with an additional 30 cases registered just on Wednesday. It is imperative that immediate action is taken to address this public health crisis.
The risks associated with dengue outbreaks during the monsoon season were well-known, yet little was done in terms of preventive measures. Despite having the necessary framework, manpower, and resources, anti-dengue campaigns were limited to a few posters this year. Key initiatives such as disinfectant sprays, surveys to identify high-risk areas, and door-to-door surveillance operations were neglected. This lapse in proactive measures has left the public vulnerable to the spread of this preventable disease. In recent years, Lahore has successfully established an effective framework to combat epidemics like dengue, but it is disheartening to witness the failure to implement these procedures in a timely manner this time around.
Fortunately, there is still a window of opportunity to act before the situation worsens. Developmental and government authorities must mobilise their resources and neutralise the identified dengue hotspots promptly. The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA), along with other pertinent organisations, have already shown some progress in tracing and destroying dengue larvae by adopting preventive measures. They have carried out anti-dengue sprays in 920 houses and detected and destroyed 1,037 dengue larvae at various spots in the city. These efforts should be intensified and expanded to cover all potential breeding grounds.
Additionally, the PHA’s initiative to release mosquito killer fishes in fountains and other water resources is commendable. This strategy can effectively prevent the nurturing and spreading of the virus. The concerned authorities must prioritise this issue and deploy all available resources to combat the spread of dengue. Lives are at stake, and the well-being of the residents of Lahore is dependent on swift and effective measures. We must unite in this campaign against dengue and ensure a healthier future for all.