PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court was informed on Friday by representatives of the provincial health department that no new case of dengue fever was reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during last two weeks.

The PHC bench of Justice Qaiser Rashid and Justice Abdul Shakoor was told by an assistant director public health, Dr Jamal Akber, that the department had chalked out a plan for ramping up preventive efforts and it would take different steps from Feb 2020 so as to combat any dengue fever outbreak in the province.

The bench observed that with start of winter season dengue scare had now ended in parts of the province, but the government should remain careful and ensure taking proper preventive measures to avoid recurrence of dengue cases next year.

The bench adjourned for indefinite period hearing of two writ petitions filed by advocates Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel and Shah Faisal Ilyas, requesting the court to direct the respondents, including provincial government, secretary health, secretary local government and Peshawar deputy commissioner, to take immediate steps for eradication of the dengue virus in Peshawar.

Govt prepares plan to avoid dengue outbreak next year

The bench observed that if required these petitions would be taken up for hearing again keeping in view the situation of dengue cases next year.

Additional advocate general Syed Sikander Hayat Shah, assistant director public health Dr Jamal Akber and other officials appeared and submitted a report about the plans for next year to avoid dengue outbreak. They said that from Feb 2020 steps such as fumigation would be taken.

The bench directed the officials to focus on areas which were hotspots of the disease this year, specially the areas on outskirts of Peshawar. The bench also observed that Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar should also play an active role in keeping the provincial capital clean.

Justice Qaiser Rashid observed that as dengue mosquito bred in clean standing water the WSSP should also focus on this aspect of the matter.

The court ordered that the commissioners and deputy commissioners of all divisions and districts should play a proactive role in prevention of the disease and the chief secretary should personally supervise all the activities.

The officials said that a committee comprising different departmental secretaries had been constituted. They said that 16 epidemiologists had been appointed in the province for this purpose and they would regularly submit their reports to the government.

The petitioners had stated that this year over 7,000 cases of dengue fever were recorded by the government and steps taken by it were not enough to fully contain the disease.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2019