Beat the drum for dengue
Dengue is one of the most menacing challenges to the health of our people and having studied the issue in depth, here are some essential ingredients needed for a successful plan of action against dengue.
The most important thing is to have a chief minister or a retired Army General to implement and be responsible for its implementation (the success story of Lahore against dengue was the untiring efforts of the Chief Minister). Secondly a close collaboration between the Dengue Monitoring Unit, CMC and also the public.
The Dengue Monitoring Unit should be the command centre equipped with: GIS - based technology to mark the dengue breeding spots to combine with, and upgrade the existing Dengue Apps to be user friendly, so that the public can easily report to the monitoring unit; easy to remember phone numbers; record actions taken and results; have trained staff to work on the dengue programme and the CMC should continue with programmes undertaken with emphasis on inspection of construction sites, abandon buildings, government institutions, schools religious sites, stagnant drains etc. Targeted fogging and spraying should continue with the information provided by the Dengue Control Unit and complaints by the public.
More importantly, a public awareness programme is needed with the following to inform the public (through media, TV, posters, face book etc.). It should contain information on: How and where the dengue mosquito breeds; the dangers of dengue and the presence of four types of dengue fever; how to reduce the spread of the dengue fever by protecting the patient as well as inform the neighbours and inform the CMC to spray the surroundings (easy to remember telephone numbers); how to destroy places that can breed the larvae (adding salt or soapy water to places where water collects), and getting rid of any water collecting containers like yogurt cups, discarded tires etc. and the importance of keeping the surroundings clean in general.
Awareness alone will not be successful however if the public do not cooperate to achieve the intended goals. Thus the public should cooperate by keeping the surroundings clean, inform the CMC and the Dengue control Unit of places that dengue mosquito can breed and make sure that action has taken place by these organisations and construction sites and schools should have a responsible person to see that there are no dengue breeding areas.
Finally it is important that the Local Government Authorities strictly impose fines when people are found negligent.