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How dengue outbreak was tackled in Swat


Tackling the dengue has been a success story in Swat, a district once known for its natural beauty and peace and then as the centre of militancy and lawlessness.

The Swat district administration and the Health Department made strenuous efforts to control dengue as only 36 cases were reported in the district in the current year with no deaths.

A large-scale dengue fever outbreak occurred in Swat in 2013. The first case was reported on August 19, 2013.

The outbreak occurred mainly in the urban areas of Swat with 95 percent of the cases registered in the union councils of the urban Babuzai tehsil in Mingora Municipality having population of 600,000. The remaining five percent were reported from the rest of Swat. Babuzai tehsil remained a high risk area.

Some 25 blood samples were sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad and it was confirmed that three strain of viruses i.e. DEN-1, DEN-2 and DEN-3, were present in the analysed blood samples.

In 2013, as many as 9,038 dengue cases were reported in Swat and 37 patients died.

Some reports said that the number of cases in Swat in 2013 could have been even higher as many patients were under treatment at private hospitals and their data wasn’t recorded.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) sources and Dr Haider, who was the Technical Focal Person for dengue campaign, it was feared that the number of dengue cases in 2014 could go up to 30,000 due to the presence of dengue larva in the affected urban areas in Swat.

However, the district administration of Swat rose to the challenge and Deputy Commissioner Mahmood Aslam Wazir devised a detailed working plan at the district level to fight dengue epidemic in 2014.

The heads of all the departments were sensitised and directed to play their role in the success of the KP government dengue plan 2014.

The line departments, community based organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Lady Health Workers (LHWs) of the Health Department assured that they will work round the clock and even on public holidays to arrest the outbreak of dengue epidemic.

In June 2014, the first suspected dengue case was reported from Shahdara in Babuzai tehsil. A total of 307 cases were reported from all of Swat district. As many as 216 cases were from one place, Skha Cheena, in Amankot Union Council.

Larvacidal activity was started through District Health Officer’s office soon after the eggs hatched larva in April. It was carried out in all the high risk union councils under the supervision of malaria supervisors during outdoor surveillance. Almost all the drains and ponds were covered during the activity for eradication of dengue larva.

Numerous sessions were arranged about dengue awareness after the incidence of cases in Skha Cheena village. Three sessions were held in mosques in Skha Cheena to create awareness among the people. The local MPAs also attended the sessions.

Some innovative steps that were taken in 2014 and 2015 included display and distribution of 1,000 banners, 3,500 posters and 500,000 leaflets for creating awareness about dengue. The district administration also got vehicle-mounted projectors to show dengue awareness videos to the public in various bazaars of Mingora city. Meetings with all the line department heads were arranged and they were asked to ensure removal of larva from their offices and houses. The use of chemical/fogging was avoided to a great extent and majority of the larva was destroyed through mechanical larvacidal activity as per advice of the doctors at thousands of sites in different areas.

Publish in The News International


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