Dengue cases have been on the rise across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) due to the receding heatwave leaving alarm bells ringing in the provincial heath department.
Official sources told The Express Tribune that dengue cases have reached the 308 mark this month and Peshawar has been among the worst-hit districts in the province.
“Seven districts are the high-risk ones including Swabi with 52, Mardan with 45, Charsadda with 34, Battagram with 21, Haripur with 17 and Bajaur with 11”, said an official of the health department who added that dengue had been reported in other districts as well.
“Chitral Lower has 8, Nowshera 8, Mansehra 7, Malakand 7, Abbottabad 7, Kohat 6, Bannu 6, DI Khan 5, Lakki Marwat 4, Swat 3, Dir Lower 3, Dir Upper 2, Khyber 2, and Hangu and Torghar. have reported one case each”, he said.
On September 1, the health department had issued a warning for susceptible districts, cautioning about the potential escalation of dengue cases.
The focal points of the dengue cases appear to be Peshawar and Mardan districts. They have prompted a thorough oversight across all districts including the tribal regions.
The health department has communicated a directive to the district health officers of all Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa districts in this regard.
In April, a high-level 13-member committee had been formed by the government to implement the 2023 dengue action plan across the province.
Talking to The Express Tribune, an official of the health department said that, last year, 15,000 cases of dengue had been reported from the Khyber tribal district alone.
“This week, 126 dengue tests were conducted of which 14 have come back positive. As a result, special plans have been finalized to eliminate mosquito larvae in high-risk districts of the province”, said the official, adding that the 13-member committee will monitor the overall arrangements and measures taken for dengue control.
The K-P Chief Secretary is the head of the committee and a formal notification was issued by the health department in this regard.
As per the notification, the K-P health secretary, LG secretary, the home and tribal affairs secretary, and the secretaries of higher education, information, irrigation and public health engineering as well as others are members of the high-level committee.
New rules and regulations have been introduced for the dengue action plan. As per these rules, a provincial oversight committee will monitor the implementation of the action plan.
“The oversight committee will submit its report to the health secretary on coordination with other departments, available resources, effective implementation of the action plan and the holding of regular meetings”, said the official.
It is worth mentioning here that, due to the lack of effective policies on the part of the local government and the previous two provincial governments, K-P has in the past been gripped by a large scale dengue outbreak which has killed dozens.
Last week federal health minister lauded the efforts made by the K-P province to curb the spread of dengue. He urged other provinces to follow in the footsteps of the K-P in combating dengue.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th2023.