Dengue preventable by simple measures: Gilani

LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that Dengue is preventable by adopting simple measures and appropriate level of public awareness makes it a relatively easier disease to control as compared to some other very complex conditions.Addressing the National Conference on Dengue Response at State Guest House here Monday, he said, the Dengue had emerged as a challenging public health issue giving rise to the need of a thorough technical discourse to guide public opinion and policymaking.He stressed the need for pooling wisdom and put things in perspective from a purely scientific standpoint. The technical issues are addressed in a professional manner otherwise it may lead to misinformation and hence the utter chaos and confusion that we may encounter when such situations arise, he observed.

Gilani, however, added, “Our public health and medical experts are fully capable of handling the situation and have made significant achievements in this aspect.”He said the Conference aimed at showing the support and solidarity of the federal government along with the partners, to the efforts being made at the provincial level and to ensure that public was provided with just the right answers in a manner which would allay their unfounded fears and address the anxieties in general reassuring their confidence in the local health system.

The Prime Minister said that Dengue was not a problem peculiar to our country or a specific province, as it was a global issue and Pakistan was just one of more than one hundred countries, affected by the virus. Fifty million people are infected by this disease annually in the world thus making it the most common viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, he added.

The current crisis has indeed reinforced my belief in the importance of public awareness in fighting epidemics and controlling the spread of disease, he said, asserting, “We must empower people and the governments with the right information and equip them with the knowledge ahead of the crisis to enable them to meet the challenge.”The Prime Minister said, “Let me reiterate here that though health essentially is a provincial subject after the successful implementation of 18th amendment but the federal government will always remain cognizant of its constitutional responsibilities with regard to issues requiring inter-provincial coordination.”Diseases like Dengue, which has spread beyond the boundaries of provinces and regions, has a potential of extending further to yet unaffected areas, unless coordinated measures are taken to curb this menace jointly by federal and provincial authorities, he said.

Gilani said, “We, in collaboration with our international partners have placed all available financial and technical resources at the disposal of the provinces.” The federal government institutions, UN agencies, development partners, and all the related organizations are here to provide support and work together in a coherent manner with provinces, in order to ensure long term, sustainable, economically viable,  environment friendly and locally feasible solutions for dengue epidemic, said the Premier.

The role of political leadership in protecting the health of the people cannot be over-emphasized, he said and added that public representatives need to come forward and play their role in allaying fears, providing the right information and mobilizing the communities to look after their own health through adoption of preventive measures.

“The key message which I myself want to convey today to the people of Pakistan through the media is that Dengue is an entirely preventable condition and simple measures carried out at the household level can go a long way in controlling this epidemic. There is absolutely no need to panic and we will Inshalla be able to deal with this challenge successfully,” Gilani said.The Prime Minister reassured that they stand firmly by the provincial governments in dealing with the current and all future public health challenges. He said, “It is my faith that with consensus and close collaboration we will defeat every disease and protect the lives and well-being of our people. – APP