Another health crisis is looming large after a dengue patient was admitted to a hospital in Rawalpindi. Dengue has become an annual challenge for our government that cannot be taken lightly. Especially nowadays, when COVID-19 seriously consumes the government’s efforts and resources, the authorities cannot afford any laxity. The health sector across the country is under immense pressure. Officials must step up their efforts to eliminate dengue larvae before it is too late and the endemic takes its toll on citizens of the country.

As door-to-door surveillance is difficult, the state must rely on data and previous experience to ramp up its prevention efforts against the spread of dengue. First steps in this regard must be running an awareness campaign over cleaning and the elimination of potential breeding grounds for dengue larvae. The best way to prevent dengue fever is to eliminate pockets of stagnant water that serve as mosquito breeding sites at home, at schools, workplaces and their vicinity, and to avoid mosquito bites.

Curtailing the breeding of dengue carrier mosquitoes can largely contain the problem before it gets unmanageable. The state cannot forget the lessons from last year. Late last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified dengue as one of 10 threats to global health. And with COVID-19, dengue will test the capacity of Pakistan’s health sector even more.

If the state is able to nip the problem in the bud, it will be a relief for medical professionals, as they are already fighting a battle against coronavirus. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The government must not lose sight of the multiple challenges facing the country, however difficult that may be during a pandemic.