ISLAMABAD - At a national consultative workshop, the representatives from all the health authorities of the federal government and provinces agreed to formulate surveillance, response and case management system at central level for communicable disease.

The recommendation came at closing session of a Consultative Workshop on Disease Surveillance and Response and Dengue Case Management Guidelines held Tuesday. The World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with federal government and provincial health departments organised the workshop.

Representatives from all the health authorities of the provinces, FATA, AJK and ICT participated to decide the way forward for the Disease Early Warning and Response System (DEWRS) and Dengue Management in the country.

Surveillance focal points from the different provinces and areas discussed options for improving the flow of information on diseases and improving the new online DEWRS reporting system. At the same time, clinical experts from all across Pakistan deliberated on one uniform case management guidelines for dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. They also considered reviving the central role of National Institute of Health (NIH) the way it was used to operate before the devolution of health ministry.

During the closing session, working groups presented their recommendations and the provincial and area authorities provided their perspective and appreciation for the steps taken. The way forward for disease surveillance and response was agreed in the light of the shared experiences and needs of the provinces. 

After hearing the expert discussion of dengue management incorporating the best practice and experience in Pakistan, a national guideline for case management of dengue was also adopted at the meeting.

Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani chaired the closing session of the workshop. While addressing the participants the federal minister said, “Dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) are considered one of the most fatal fevers in Pakistan which killed hundreds of people in Pakistan last year. Dengue fever is a re-emerging arboviral disease in more than 100 tropical and sub-tropical countries of the world with estimated caseload of 50-100 millions of dengue fever and 0.5 million cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever.”

He further said dengue is the most rapidly spreading vector-borne viral disease since last decade. From 1995-2004 only 699 dengue cases were reported from three districts of Pakistan. During 2005-2011 numbers of confirmed cases and deaths dramatically increased to 55,946 and 539 respectively affecting 105 out of 146 districts/agencies/territories. Aedes aegypti and albopictus have been considered major vectors of dengue in Southeast Asia including Pakistan.

Moreover, Federal Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani pledged to introduce an anti-dengue drug namely Dextron 40 which will certainly help tackle dengue fever in the Pakistan.

Online adds: The number of confirmed dengue patients dramatically increased to a large number during 2005 to 2011 affecting countrywide while one-thirds population of the world is at risk of dengue. Mir Hazar Khan Bajarani on Tuesday said this while addressing the concluding session. The minister disclosed that only 699 confirmed dengue cases were reported during the year 1995-2004, while the number had been increased to 55946 from 2005-2011.

The minister retreated that after the devolution of ministry of health to the provinces all out efforts would be made setting aside political issues. “The government of Pakistan would implement recommendations by the competent forums/working groups to counter the disease, “the minister added.