KARACHI - World Health Organisation (WHO) team on Thursday urged the Sindh Health Department to launch a mass public awareness drive across Karachi, besides training general physicians for the treatment and management of patients affected by mosquito-borne disease, Chikungunya. These recommendations were presented by the WHO experts at a joint meeting of WHO officials and representatives of the health department held here at II Depot.

Earlier, the WHO team and health department officials visited Ibrahim Hyderi, Saudabad and other areas, from where Chikungunya cases are being reported constantly for the last several years.

The WHO team, consisting of environment specialists and epidemiologists, had arrived in Karachi three days ago on the request of health department to review the prevailing situation with respect to the spread of Chikungunya in the city and to provide technical assistance to the health department to control its outbreak. 

The WHO team members and local health experts also conducted epidemiological test of the outbreak, both at health facilities and area-wise during their visit to disease-stricken areas.

The WHO team put forwarded seven recommendations to the health department for the effective management of Chikungunya threat, which were namely effective and integrated vector control intervention, including fumigation and Larvicidal activity, taking stringent steps to improve environmental condition (garbage removal and sanitation), setting up of well-equipped laboratories with skilled human resource and report sharing mechanism, involvement of community, including influential people for creating awareness about the disease; dissemination of right messages through the mass media for public awareness and training of media personnel for delivering right health messages. Meanwhile, Sindh Health Department official, while sharing details about the outbreak of Chikungunya in Karachi, informed that initially the cases were reported from the areas of Saudabad and later spread to the entire city through virus-transmitting mosquitoes.

He said that WHO team and local experts believed that viral disease came to Pakistan from India through travelers. He said WHO team had expressed grave concern over the poor state of sanitation in the city and recommended launching a city-wide fumigation drive on urgent basis. He informed that experts had also called for training doctors to treat Chikungunya patients properly and launching a public awareness drive across the city.