Summer although is unbearably hot in our climes, it offsets the heat to a certain degree by offering delicious mangoes and other juicy delights, the ripeness of which arguably remains unrivalled. All the same, people also have to put up with a dengue outbreak of varying degrees every summer. And this has been the ‘new normal’ since 2005.
The health services ministry on Thursday, anticipating the potential onset of the disease, launched an awareness drive for the citizens in Islamabad to take necessary precautions. At least on this count the government looks ahead of the curve. Going beyond the awareness, the federal as well as all the provincial governments should maintain a high level of vigilance besides ensuring sufficient stocks of all the vaccines and medicines necessary.
Pakistan has come a long way in its fight against dengue, it, however, has had more than its fair share of the dengue scare in recent years. The Punjab province, in particular, Lahore has been at the forefront of it. The Punjab government, turning the emergency like situation into an opportunity, has been the most effective in combating and preventing the disease, particularly during the 2011 outbreak.
The then Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif should be given the due credit here who went after the disease like a maniac, enacting new laws to prevent the spread of the disease, training the medics in how to treat dengue and acquiring knowledge from the neighbouring governments regarding the disease and its prevention.
The entire country is prone to dengue epidemic because of the changing climate patterns. Communities living in slums and suburban areas without adequate housing, potable water and proper sanitation, and with limited access to health facilities are the most vulnerable. The governments concerned should focus their energies on the hotspots and the Punjab government has already set a precedent that only needs to be scaled up.