NIH red alert
National Institute of Health (NIH) has cautioned against the peak infections of coronavirus and eight other diseases in the upcoming monsoon season. These diseases have been categorized under high alert and moderate alert for which necessary precautions have been suggested. A comprehensive advisory has been issued by the Federal Epidemiology and disease Surveillance Division of NIH to all provincial government and administration of federal capital to prepare preventive and curative plans. From among high alert diseases few include include Covid-19 and Cremains Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) which may spread at an alarming rate during the forthcoming Eidul Azha.
The spike in Covid-19 has neither been taken seriously by the federal and provincial governments nor the people. Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Dr.Zafar Mirza rejected the World Health Organisation guidelines (WHO), stressing therein intermittent lockdowns of 15 days with relaxation intervals, despite the fact that fact that Pakistan is signatory to Alma-Ata Declaration of September 12, 1978. Moreover, WHO has generously provided vaccines for the prevention of viral disease and it is closely cooperation in the eradication of polio. The strategy of smart lockdown has not achieved the desired results.
None of the provincial government have announced measures how to regulate cattle markets for the sale of Eidul Azha sacrificial animals to prevent the outbreak of CCHF. Last year the insecticide spray done in cattle markets had not proved effective. Likewise, no plan is in place to prevent the outbreak of Dengue, Lashmania and Malaria to smash the mosquitos that cause these diseases. The breeding season of Sand fly, Dengue and Malaria mosquitos will start soon. The role of district administration is crucial to coordinate the efforts of health, local Government institutions and Public Health Engineering Department in providing preventive healthcare of different types of fevers.
The NIH advisory also predicts about Cholera, Measles, Diphtheria and Meningitis. Water supply systems are dilapidated and water pipe run close to sewerage lines. The immunization programmes implemented for the prevention of these diseases are not strictly monitored. Data authentication is utmost necessary. There is dire need of making an assessment of requirement of vaccines to be acquired from WHO as, unfortunately, none of the governments ever bothered to develop vaccine production capability at NIH by building necessary research and manufacturing infrastructure and prepare a pool of scientists and biochemists. The hospitals, which were inherited from British era and the ones, which were built in the decade of 60s, had isolation wards. These wards no longer exist for the treatment of patients of Covid-19, Dengue, Lashmania and other communicative diseases. Hopefully, federal and provincial governments will put in place a comprehensive strategy for the prevention of diseases mentioned in the NIH advisory.