When two miseries combine


Fearing that dengue outbreak might worsen, the medical community has appealed the government to declare the city “calamity-hit” and exempt the city from power outages for at least two months. The provincial government should ask the federal government to relieve Lahore from load shedding until the current epidemic was controlled, doctors and dengue patients observed.
The electricity shortfall in the country has reached 6,000 MW, causing 12 to 16 hours of power outages. The dengue epidemic in the city might worsen as people tend to stay outdoors during power outages. The dengue has already claimed more than 130 lives in the city while thousands of people are still suffering from the fever and there seems no end to the epidemic until the temperature falls, forcing the mosquitoes to disappear.
Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) Principal Professor Javed Akram said the government should announce Lahore as “calamity-hit” city and load shedding schedule should be softened for the city. Medics said that the outages could put people on an increased dengue risk. With ceiling fans and mosquito repelling machines non-operational, resident were left vulnerable to mosquito bites, said Kashif Iqbal, a resident of Allama Iqbal Town, where power supply remained suspended for the entire Monday night.
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Ijaz said load shedding added to the woes of the already epidemic-hit city.
Declaring Lahore load shedding-free could help to curb dengue outbreak, he said. Healthcare depended on electronic machines, which could not operate during outages. He said the hospitals should ensure double grid power supply if the load shedding continued.
Hospitals had only a small chunk of patients admitted while many were being treated at their houses and suffering owing to outages, doctors said. Many private sector hospitals could not afford alternate power supply and it put patients at risk, a private hospital owner said on anonymity.
The testing equipments in medical laboratories are run on electricity. The blood testing centers set up at different places in the city also can not facilitate people due to long hours of load shedding. Experts said that fluctuating power supply damaged hospitals’ healthcare equipment.


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