Home > The curse of incompetence – The Express Tribune

The curse of incompetence – The Express Tribune

There have been 2,424 cases of dengue regist­ered from differ­ent parts of Karach­i this year



Dengue visits Pakistan every year and has done for centuries. It can be a killer in its most virulent form and is caused by being bitten by an infected mosquito that breeds in standing and stagnant water. Spraying the breeding ponds of the mosquito significantly reduces the chances of the mosquitoes ever getting beyond the larval stage. This protects the population at large and should be a matter of routine public health maintenance. The remedy for dengue outbreaks has been available for the entirety of the life of Pakistan as a state. It is simple, cheap and effective. It requires no special skills to implement, but does require petrol to go into the tanks of the vehicles that go to the sites that need spraying and that is where the chain of common sense is broken by wilful stupidity, a failure to coordinate and an institutionalised incompetence that condemns all and sundry to the ravages of a preventable disease.

Nowhere is this more in evidence than Sindh, where various government departments and agencies have yet again displayed their serial crass foolishness in the face of an onslaught by mosquitoes. The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the health department have failed again to work together and the spraying campaign has been ‘on hold’ — at the height of the dengue season — for the last two weeks. Sterile meetings — that have no outcome of any worth — are held. Meanwhile, there have been 2,424 cases of dengue registered from different parts of Karachi this year, but medical experts dispute this saying that the figure is double that. The entire fiasco revolves around a simple lack of money being provided for fuel. It is exasperating to learn that those involved actually admit that they are unable to do the necessary coordination that would restart the spraying progamme. Public servants have become a blight on the populations that they are supposed to serve. In the parallel reality that is Karachi, nobody turns a hair. In the real world, heads would roll. Dengue will come and go as it always does, untouched by modern science.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.

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