Dengue danger

The government must act before the crisis worsens

With hospitals turning away dengue patients, it has become clear that the crisis this year is getting worse rather than better and the government has not paid enough attention to the health crisis it represents. The focus on the covid-19 pandemic seems to have been taken as a free pass for other diseases. There have been some half-hearted attempts at spraying, but there have been suspicions that the spray has not been properly supplied. That implies a lack of proper supervision by those in authority, because they can certainly ensure proper spray. However, the level of interest can be seen in the casual approach to draining stagnant water, which is the only known way of controlling the spread of dengue: stopping the spread of its vector, the aedes aegypti mosquito.

The usual government strategy, of awaiting the winter, and the killing off of the vector by the cold, will not work as global warming renders the climate ever more tropical. In fact, the spread of the aedes aegypti is because the warming temperature has made Pakistan more hospitable to it after the monsoons, when water is stagnant and plentiful. The government should thus assume that dengue is a permanent feature, and should dread the day when global warming leads to a winter so mild that the aedes aegypti survives it, and dengue becomes a perennial disease, as it is in so much of tropical Africa.

- Advertisement -

Covid-19 shows some signs of being controlled, but remains a killer. The fight to eradicate polio is not over. Before they are eliminated, dengue is entering the field. The government has to take immediate measures to prevent its becoming the next big killer. If it has to take punitive measures to ensure the public helps eliminate the stagnant water where the disease vector breeds, then so be it. The only thing worse than dengue mixing itself up with covid-19 would be for human-to-human transmission to begin, which it has not so far. However, it is only by slogging away now against the disease that some such future disaster can be avoided. Or does the government want to wait until that happens?

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Pakistan, Bangladesh agree to strengthen ties

High Commissioner for Pakistan Imran Ahmed Siddiqui on Monday called on the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Both the countries have agreed upon strengthening...