Vector-borne diseases such as dengue have made the situation worse in the country. Cities and districts that were already destroyed by water are now facing the threat of dengue, malaria and other water-borne diseases. Four deaths have been reported in Karachi due to dengue fever. South Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan have also reported many cases of dengue, malaria and water-borne diseases such as diarrhea. The number of cases being reported is rapidly increasing and with these, the number of deaths is also increasing. Such reports were imminent after the devastation caused by floods and the collection of stagnant water in many areas. The real issue, however, is that these diseases are such that they can easily be prevented or cured (in the case of diarrhea) but due to various reasons, they are taking the lives of people.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has issued guidelines for dengue prevention and they must be followed by all provincial and local governments. The stagnant water will take its time to evaporate or move, therefore, currently, only preventative measures can be taken to protect people from getting these easily preventable diseases. Dengue and malaria are transferred into humans by mosquitoes that are born on the water. These mosquitoes, when they bite humans, transfer this disease which causes several symptoms such as high fever, low platelet count, joint pain and in some severe cases bleeding gums, nose, mouth, ears and other parts of the body. Governments must carry out drives of mosquito repellent spray in areas that are vulnerable. Moreover, water must be removed as soon as possible so that such mosquitoes are not born in the first place. Health camps must also be established in areas that do not have hospitals nearby.
Although dengue and malaria are not new to the country, still many people are unaware of the illness and so they must be educated about it. Moreover, medicines that treat these diseases must be readily available at a low cost as already people are burdened with the destruction of their homes and high levels of inflation in the country. The PMA has instructed people to avoid mosquito bites with the use of sprays, mosquito nets and repellent solutions. Moreover, water tanks carrying clean stagnant water must be covered. In addition to that, schools must instruct children to wear full-sleeved shirts and trousers as uniforms and school premises should also be sprayed against mosquitoes.
When Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was the chief minister of Punjab, he successfully carried out drives to completely eradicate dengue within Punjab. At the time all schools changed their uniforms and preventative spray drives were carried out throughout cities. Therefore, the spread of dengue and malaria is highly preventable and governments must work towards eradicating this completely. Pakistan and its people are already in dire times, these issues will only make their situation worse and it is the government’s responsibility to provide for the people in such ways. Lastly, the government must also make sure that prices of items such as mosquito nets, repellents and sprays are not exponentially increased by vendors. The government should either provide a subsidy or put a price cap so that people can easily buy these items.