Triumphing over dengue

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In the face of financial challenges and a scarcity of resources, particularly human resources, the provincial health department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has unveiled a remarkable and innovative strategy that has kept dengue cases at a record low, setting a shining example for the nation. This unique approach has led to significant improvements in dengue control when compared to other provinces of the country.
The health department’s tireless efforts in designing and implementing a specialized strategy deserve commendation to combat dengue promptly, safeguarding the people from this severe disease.
The brilliance of this strategy lies in its comprehensive nature, leaving no room for error in controlling the vector-borne disease. Collaborative efforts, including engagement with various sectors of the community, have been the backbone of this success story. Medical entomologists, religious leaders, civil defence officials and other stakeholders played pivotal roles in the successful containment of the dengue virus.
According to a news report published on these pages, the results speak for themselves. According to a recent report, from January to October 2023, KP reported only 629 dengue cases, a remarkable drop from the alarming 16,787 cases reported in October 2022. In contrast, official statistics reveal a total of 13,555 dengue cases reported across the country, with Punjab leading the list with 6,866 cases, followed by Balochistan, Islamabad Capital Territory and Sindh.
Within KP, the majority of cases were concentrated in Peshawar, Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Battagram, Kohat, Malakand, Haripur and Bajaur districts, with additional cases reported in several other areas. These statistics underscore the enormity of the challenge that the health department has been facing.
The efforts of the health department’s teams were nothing short of heroic. Rigorous vector surveillance involved inspecting a staggering 8,688,881 houses, identifying and discarding 8,803 houses as dengue-positive. Furthermore, 32,078,240 containers were inspected, with 13,221 containers identified as positive and promptly disposed of during indoor surveillance. Additionally, 186,550 outdoor breeding sites were inspected, and 9,960 positive sites were treated both mechanically and chemically following established protocols. Community awareness is also a top priority. The health department conducted numerous sessions and activities, engaging a vast number of participants in male and female sessions, distributing dengue pamphlets, holding awareness walks and distributing bed nets in high-risk and low-risk areas.
What makes this achievement even more remarkable is that not a single life was lost to dengue in KP this year. This success is a testament to the unwavering dedication of the medical entomologists, religious leaders, civil defence officials and community members who all played vital roles in controlling the transmission of the dengue virus. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s innovative and collaborative approach to combating dengue is a model that other provinces and regions can learn from. Despite financial constraints and resource limitations, the health department’s remarkable strategy has proven that, with dedication, innovation and community involvement, it is possible to achieve exceptional results in public health.
This success should be celebrated and used as an example to inspire further progress in dengue control across the country.