Well-done Government of Punjab, Dengue is in check!

Published: September 27, 2012

Shahbaz Sharif at a hospital inspecting the chart of a dengue patient. PHOTO: JAVED YOUSAF

There is a low level outbreak of dengue fever in Lahore and its outskirts. Over the last few weeks more than a hundred patients have tested positive for the dengue virus.

Every day the media gives the public an updated count of how many patients have been diagnosed with dengue fever. Sometimes the media is so dutiful in its obligation to inform, that the reports include the names of the suspected dengue patients as well!

Every patient is important. Even one case of dengue fever is one too many. Having said as much, if we look at the size of the outbreak, it is much, much smaller than had been anticipated by the World Health Organization.

For the last several months the government of Punjab has been conducting detailed and exhaustive surveillance for Aedes mosquitoes that spread the dengue virus. Survey teams have been looking everywhere in Lahore for any small collection of still water.

Almost to the point of harrassment, the government and its operatives have been fixated on making sure that there is no fertile ground for the breeding of  mosquitoes.

This effort has been accompanied by a massive public awareness campaign. Countless seminars have been held in schools and colleges and there has been a major drive to educate the public on how to prevent dengue fever.

This timely focus on prevention of an outbreak seems to be paying dividends. At least for now it appears that the massive outbreak that was expected as a follow up to last year’s epidemic has been curtailed. Who can forget the chaos and panic last year? Thousands and thousands of patients were suffering from the disease and heavy criticism was directed at the government for failing to curb the spread of dengue fever.

We are not completely out of the woods yet. The outbreak could still flare up. However, if we do manage to make it through the next three weeks without a significant increase in dengue fever cases, we will have indeed performed a modern-day miracle.

The credit for this should go to the relentless efforts of the government of Punjab.


Read more by Omar here or follow him on Twitter @OmarChughtai

Omar Chughtai

Omar Chughtai

An avid reader of blogs who works as Lab Director at Chughtais Lahore Lab. Omar tweets @OmarChughtai.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    If, on the ground it is as you say it is, then yes, credit is due.
    Punjab should do the same with Polio and advertise the results in the media, so that others could follow. This is what good governance is all about.Recommend

  • Faraz

    I support chief minister on the dengue issue.
    The past one year has been good for Shahbaz Sharied and bad for PTI.Recommend

  • http://www.omarchughtai.com Omar Chughtai

    Dengue is in check. For now. I hope it stays that way. Inshallah we should be out of the woods in a couple of weeks.

    The government has spent a lot of time and energy on this.

    There are several other health care initiatives that need attention. Malaria is rampant. TB is more prevalent than ever before.

    But for now, the conversation is about Dengue, and this is an accomplishment that I feel should be appreciated. Recommend

  • Jamshed

    Well then we should give more credit to pervez ilahi .. or musharraf .. because there were no dengue that time ..Recommend

  • Muhammad Imran

    well I remember Imran Khan calling Sharif brothers ‘Dengue Brothers’ a year back. He & his supporters should be ashamed of it & if they have only an ounce of humanity left they should apologize to them & to the families who lost their loved ones in this plaguing disease for making it a jokeRecommend

  • Maria

    @Jamshed: You obviously have no understanding of the nature of epidemics – no one here in the US blames Bush for the SARS outbreak! The fact remains that Dengue is endemic to some extent in Pakistan – when there was an unusually big upsurge due to flood waters, steps needed to be taken to control this problem. The provincial government got involved and things have improved greatly- not just in the case of Dengue but Punjab remains the most prosperous, developing and stable province in Pakistan die to the continuous efforts of Shahbaz Sharif. Some people may dislike him but no one can deny that he has done a great job in Punjab.Recommend

  • Waleed

    @Jamshed: If you have to give credit to Pervez Ilahi and Musharraf for not having dengue at that time, then my friend you forgot Bird Flu! Hold your horses.Recommend

  • Max

    Credit should be given to Shahbaz Sharif for his great work. That’s what happens when the government takes ownnership, unlike Karachi where everyone is busy passing the buck.Recommend