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ISLAMABAD, Nov 1 (APP): The Ministry of Health has been directed to devise a comprehensive media outreach plan to tackle the incidence of Dengue fever in the country. Minister for Health, Sherry Rehman who was given a briefing by senior officials and National Programme Managers here Saturday, said Dengue is one epidemic that can best be addressed by way of active awareness?raising drive. She also directed the Ministry to design innovative media communication strategy to address the information gap.
The Ministry would be re?structuring its strategy to counter Dengue fever by placing more emphasis on the media communication component. The meeting discussed the agenda for the Health Ministry at the upcoming ECNEC meeting.
She stressed forming linkages with the Radio Pakistan as apart of the Ministry’s awareness raising drive. Radio Pakistan has an extensive outreach across Pakistan.
“A permanent space for Health Programmes on the Radio would go a long way in serving the objectives of our preventive healthcare strategy,” she added.
The Minister was also given a comprehensive briefing on “Current Status of Dengue in Pakistan” by the Directorate of Malaria Control.
Sherry Rehman was informed Dengue is a self?remitting disease in over 98% of the cases and the patient can recover in a week’s time if provided treatment.
The Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, which is a serious threat, is seen in those who suffer a second spell of infection with different stereotype of virus. Therefore, it is important that the patient avails the facility of medical assistance as soon as there is fear of Dengue attack.
The Minister said Dengue as a disease can best be countered by individuals and households as no macro?level Programme can address its causes.
“The Dengue mosquito thrives in home environment and prefers clean water. It is important for households to adopt precautionary measures since they can guard themselves most effectively against the virus,” she added.
Emphasizing the significance of vector control initiatives, Ms Rehman said the preventive steps could be augmented by public’s use of mosquito repellents, including coils and sprays.
“According to our information, repellents work effectively against mosquitoes and insects. They could be used by households to minimize the risk of dengue mosquito attack,” the Minister said.
Ms Rehman said public’s approach to the epidemic is shaped by its perception of the disease and added there are gaps on information front.
While the fear factor that stems from lack ofknowledge can play a positive role compelling people to seek medical help in case of a Dengue risk, one cannot downplay the cost of ignorance, she said, adding that it is important the public has access to accurate information on Dengue so that we could avoid mortality, as well as any misconception regarding the disease.
Sherry Rehman informed that the mortality figure from Dengue has come down substantially over the past two years.
She said there were 6,056 Dengue cases reported in 2006, and there were 52 deaths.
“Compared to this, we have 1,488 cases this year, out of this, 661 cases were reported positive and there were 26 deaths. The difference between the admissions and the positive cases indicate that people take Dengue symptoms seriously. Our objective for the coming year is to minimize the mortality rate, while also ensuring the availability of adequate information on the disease at every level,” she added.-APP