FAISALABAD -  A 25-member World Health Organisation delegation called for stepped up efforts to prevent and control the mosquito-borne diseases including Zika and dengue virus to save the lives of people.

The experts from various countries visited the University of Agriculture Faisalabad and called on UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad and faculty members.

The team was led by World Health Organization Department of Disease Prevention and Control Technical Officer Dr Tran Minh Nhu Nguyen. Experts from Italy, France, Egypt, Pakistan and other countries also attended the second day of Training Workshop on Prevention, Surveillance, and Control of Aedes Mosquito Control Vectors.

Dr Tran Minh Nhu Nguyen said that Pakistan had a vast experience of tackling the mosquito-borne diseases like dengue.  He said that Pakistan had developed a model over dengue eradication. He said that combined efforts would pave the way for addressing the issue and find the ways to overcome from each other experiences. He stressed a need for collaborative efforts about how to mitigate the effects. He called for taking precautionary measures for the prevention and control of the potential spread of Zika virus.

Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that UAF Department of Entomology had been making all the possible steps to curb disease and conducting viable researches to overcome the human and plant diseases. He said that tangible steps were being taken on the part of varsity scientists in plant protection, identification and control of vector-bone diseases, vaccinology and pesticide residue impact etc. He also the praised the Department of Parasitology for the valuable work on the diseases of livestock sector.   

He said that it is a matter of concern that despite having abundant food in the country, 23 percent of population had been facing malnutrition, exposing oneself to the various diseases. He said that lack of awareness, affordability, junk food and changing life style are aggravating the issue. He said that the country was having surplus food including 4 million tonne rice, two million tonne potatoes and 2 million tone corn. He said that UAF was promoting the idea of one health under which people were being aware about the importance of balance diet and healthy way of life.

Chairman Entomology Dr Jalal Arif said that his department was leading the research and development activities on dengue virus across the province. He said that currently the department was running competitive research projects worth Rs30 million. He said that the UAF had emerged as the 72nd best institution across the world in the agri sciences. He said under his department, multiple research projects on vector identification and control, integrated pest management, pesticide residue impact else is being carried out.

Head R&D Punjab Programme on Dengue Dr Waseem Akram said that the collaborative work with WHO would pave the way for fighting the challenge of different disease. He said that the Punjab government was making sincere efforts for the health of the people.

Dr Qutbuddin Kakar from WHO Pakistan office, Prof Giancarlo Majori from Italy, and Dr Guido Sabatinelli also spoke on the occasion.