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Dengue continue to haunt the residents of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) as every effort on the part of the provincial government has failed miserably to contain its spread despite the fact that for the past nine years, the mosquito-borne disease strikes annually.

Around 279 new dengue cases were reported in the province on Saturday which increased the number of dengue patients to 19,720, as 13 more dengue patients were admitted to different hospitals of K-P and the number of admitted patients reached 53.

An official of the health department said that the highest number of 142 fresh cases had been reported in Peshawar which is the worst hit district and with this the number had risen to 8,141.

He disclosed that 24 cases of dengue were reported in Mardan taking total tally of the district to 3,807, 31 cases reported in Haripur, which increased the number of cases in Haripur to 1,030.

Similarly, 17 dengue cases were reported from Khyber, 12 from Bannu, 14 from Dera Ismail Khan, 11 from Kohat, and 17 from Malakand.

It may be mentioned here that as per the official data dengue has claimed 15 lives but this claim is dispute by the local residents who claim that more than 15 people have lost their lives to dengue in Nowshera district alone.

In March this year, Commissioner Peshawar Division, Riaz Khan Mehsud chaired a meeting to review anti-dengue arrangements and precautionary measures for summer season.

The meeting was attended by deputy commissioners, district health officers and administrative officers of Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Khyber and Mohmand districts.

All deputy commissioners of Peshawar division were directed to prepare action plan and take preventive measures to control dengue with the arrival of summer. He directed departments to implement anti-dengue plan in letter and spirit.

Mehsud directed heath officials to setup medical camps at dengue hotspot places to conduct tests for people with fever.

The meeting was held to avoid a repeat of the last year when dengue became a epidemic but despite all these meetings and arrangements, its outbreak was reported in Khyber and later in Peshawar district which accounts for nearly half of the total cases in the province these days.

“Meeting alone can’t solve problems as the provincial government and especially finance department is reluctant to release funds for the purpose. Fog sprays in April are a necessity to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes but it didn’t happen either as a result people are at the mercy of dengue, malaria and other diseases,” said an official while talking to The Express Tribune.

He mentioned that lack of quality anti-mosquito sprays is also a problem as local government is buying sprays from open market which are not effective. There should be regular checking of these drugs which is not happening.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2022.

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