LAHORE             -            Punjab is all set to chalk out a comprehensive dengue strategy with the support of local and international experts, said Minister Health Dr Yasmin Rashid while addressing International dengue Conference 2020 at a local hotel on Friday.  Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, Federal Secretary Health Dr Allah Bukhsh Malik attended the event. Chief Secretary Punjab Major (retd) Azam Suleman, Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Capt (retd) Usman Younas, Vice Chancellor King Edward Medical University Prof Khalid Masood Gondal, Principal Services Institute of Medical Sciences Prof Mehmud Ayaz, former Director General Health Dr Munir Ahmed, Secretary Labour Sara Aslam, representatives of WHO and other development agencies were among the notable guests.

Renowned experts from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Canada and from countries in Far East Asia also participated in the conference.

Dr Yasmin Rashid said that Punjab has brought together leading global experts to develop strategy as dengue was a global pandemic that has hit all countries in the region. “We have to devise tangible action plan and see how the disease has evolved over the last decade. We are working with the federal government and are developing a joint strategy with all stakeholders based on lessons learnt. Whereas work on treatment and clinical management is underway, we have to find innovative approaches towards prevention,” she said.

The minister said: “It is great to see experts from virology, epidemiology, public health and researchers from all regions discussing and sharing experiences. We need thorough review of existing SOPs related to case detection, diagnosis, clinical managements, treatment, surveillance and social mobilization. The conference will help us devise strategies that will be helpful for Pakistan as well as other countries of the region.”

Dr Zafar Mirza appreciated Punjab for leading Pakistan dengue response. He said this was a sign of maturity in a society that when a crisis was over, people create opportunities to reflect and devise future course of action. Dengue, he said, was an international issue and all countries could learn a lot from each other.

Major (retd) Azam Suleman said that dengue needed inter sectoral response and the existing SOPs must be continuously improved. He said all administrative departments must work in synergy.

Dr. Munir Ahmed, who had won global acclaim for control of dengue as EDO Lahore a decade back, also shared his experiences and said training of staff on latest modules and accountability of staff was the key to better results.