ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: National Institute of Health (NIH) on Wednesday issued an advisory for prevention and control of outbreaks of communicable diseases during rainy weather in present monsoon season.
According to NIH, the advisory has been issued in wake of Pakistan Meteorological Department’s seasonal forecast for monsoon rainfall and floods in different parts of the country during July and September.
It said that rainy areas, poor and congested localities are at greater risk of having epidemics of water and food-borne infectious diseases.
The institute urged the authorities concerned to take necessary preventive measures to avert environmental degradation, water and food contamination and sanitation issues that could work synergistically to increase the incidence of communicable and infectious diseases.
The anticipated food and water, vector borne and zoonotic disease outbreaks could only be contained through advanced preparedness and preventive measures and will help minimizing the morbidity and mortality, it added.
It recommended the district rapid response teams and district health management teams comprising of clinical experts, public health and laboratory professionals, vector control experts and other line departments to fully equip with requisite supplies to manage the situation.
It also recommended that on identification of any clusters, field investigation should be initiated immediately to assess the associated risk factors and control its further spread.
It said that the water-borne diseases attributed to the consumption of unsafe water and non-observance of proper sanitation and preventive measures may pose a serious challenge for the health and water and sanitation authorities.
It added such epidemics could be prevented through measures including careful watch on the water supply systems, repair of damaged water pipes, sewerage lines and systems without delay.
It also recommended chlorination of drinking water sources, regular monitoring of hotels, restaurants and food points, ice factories, street vendors and water reservoirs.
It urged for focused health education campaign regarding safe drinking water, hand hygiene, food safety and better sanitation through active community participation particularly aiming to protect vulnerable populations like school children, vendors and pregnant women who are at greater risk of obstetrical complications and mortality from hepatitis-E.
It added water pipes supplying drinking water are usually old, rusted and damaged while sewage pipes and open sewage lanes running side by side sometimes get contaminated.