Tag Archives: public health

‘Dingi’ (Dengue) Fever in Lahore

Prof Farakh A Khan

According to WHO (1999) 2.5 billion people are at risk of dengue virus infection in 200 countries. Before 1970 only nine countries had dengue fever. The mortality is about 5%, which can be reduced to 1% with proper treatment in the hospital. Dengue viral infection has become the leading public health problem.

According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention USA dengue infection places more than 1/3rd population of the world at risk. Every year 100 million people get infected.

The first case of dengue virus in Pakistan was reported in 1996 and incidence started to rise in 2003-2004 (Shahid, Jamal. Govt blames lifestyle for dengue spread. Dawn. September 22, 2011). The dengue viral attack reached epidemic proportions in Lahore during the summer of 2011. The number of people down with dengue viral infection in Lahore can only be a vague conjecture since we have no system to collect reliable statistics. Our rough estimate is that more than 100,000 people in Lahore have so far been infected if the recorded deaths are to be relied upon. There have been 98 reported deaths allegedly due to dengue haemorrhagic fever in Lahore (Nine more die of dengue in Lahore. OC. The News. September 24, 2011).

First let us analyse what the Pakistani papers have been feeding us in this regard. Continue reading

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The destruction of Lahore’s environment is a trend that needs to be reversed, says Raza Rumi

Moaning about Lahore’s most elitist enclave, GOR-I, is a contentious undertaking. On the one hand, it was, until recently, the best of what the British left us – lovingly p9aadorned with diverse species of trees, home to glorious specimens of ecologically-friendly architecture and an old-world-charm unparalleled for its simplicity and elegance. On the other hand, it was also a symbol of the extractive, Punjab-centric colonial state of the nineteenth century, lorded over by the agents of the Indian civil service.

But when one has lived in those sublime environs, not as the scion of a landed, aristocratic clan but rather as a member of a middle-class, professional family, what is one to do?GOR-I was a lonely plant of sorts amid the sprawl of Lahore, with trees, birds and orchards one would not have expected to find in an Asian mega-city. Continue reading

Lahoris still being fed unhygienic food

* Food outlets continuing to sell adulterated and substandard foodstuffs despite recent Food Dept operation
* Chief food inspector says punished violators still operating due to shortage of employees to follow up on cases

By Afnan Khan (Daily Times)

LAHORE: Adulterated and substandard food is still being sold at various important markets of the city as the District Food Department’s recent operation to shut down food outlets selling hazardous foodstuffs could not make a significant dent on the business, Daily Times learnt on Saturday.

The department was supposed to clear all the major localities, including Gulberg, Model Town, Shadman, Garden Town, Barkat Market, Lakshmi Chowk and Gowalmandi, from adulterated and substandard foodstuffs to ensure the provision of good quality food to citizens ahead of Ramazan. Continue reading

Public toilets are disappearing in Lahore

Unanswered call by  By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed

Public toilets are disappearing fast in densely populated city of Lahore

It was his fault but not big enough to be punished with a bullet shot in his leg. Yes it’s exactly what happened with Majid Abbas, 17, earlier this month. The poor boy had dared to answer the call of nature at the site of an under-construction plaza at Liberty Market. Majid, who later recorded his statement with the police, says a private security guard posted at the site asked him to get up and move away but he couldn’t as it was too late. “I couldn’t hold it back any further, but I didn’t know the guard will fire a shot at me.” He says it was only after a failed attempt to find a public toilet or such facility at some public place that he used the space as a last resort.

The ordeal which Majid went through (before the shooting incident took place), has been experienced by most of us many a time. It’s no secret how difficult, rather painful it becomes when you can’t find a place to relieve yourself. Had there been a nearby public toilet, even a paid one, Majid would have avoided coming in the line of fire. Continue reading

Fresh air far away – The drain that pollutes South Lahore

By Farooq Khattak

Lahorites love to inhale a fresh whiff of air when they wake up in the morning or for that matter, at anytime of the day. Many of the lively-hearted Lahorites have planted flowering plants and shrubs by their houses or have placed earthen pots containing such plants by their bedrooms or in the corridors of their houses, for aesthetics and a whiff of fragrant air every now and then.

However, millions of residents of south Lahore have been denied this pleasure for the last decade or so. Its not that the people residing in this part of Lahore have less aesthetic sense or don’t care for a fresh breath of air in the mornings; they have been compelled to smell fetid air 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The reason is a storm water channel called Sattu Katla. The course of this rainwater drain runs through almost the entire south Lahore. It has been there since before Independence. It emanates somewhere close by Wahga border and passes close to Makkah Colony, the now abandoned Walton aerodrome, Askari Flats and some parts of cantonment area, R and S Blocks Model Town Extension, Township, Wapda Town and other localities beyond it and empties in River Ravi. Continue reading

Lahore’s ‘quietest’ areas exceed WHO noise limits

* Health expert says noise pollution can trigger both physiological and psychological problems

Abdul Manan writing in Daily Times

LAHORE: Though the affluent areas of Lahore are quieter than rest of the city, the noise level in these areas is still far higher than the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), an Environment Protection Department (EPD) official told Daily Times on Monday.

Noise intensity is measured in decibels (dB) to illustrate different noise levels. The WHO standard for residential areas is 45dB, for commerical areas 55 dB, and for industrial areas 65 dB. People can normally bear noise up to 45 dB, but from 120 dB the ear begins to experience pain, and this level of noise can also impair hearing if experienced over a long period.

The EPD official said the noise level was recorded at an average of 75 dB in Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Gulberg and Model Town. He said the average noise level in the industrial areas was recorded as above 120 dB. “Noise pollution could be dramatically decreased by banning rickshaws,” he said.

He said noise should be considered a nuisance rather than an environmental problem, but that the EPD had not yet established any standards of noise pollution. “The EPD should propose amendments in the Pakistan Environment Protection Act 1997 in this regard,” he said, and added that major sources of noise were generators, vehicles, poor urban planning, factory machinery, construction work, aircraft, and railways.

Noise injures both physically and mentally: Mayo Hospital’s Dr Khalil said unwanted sound was defined as noise pollution. He said noise affects a person’s level of happiness and ability to perform activities. “Noise pollution can cause annoyance, aggression, and hypertension, and can impair hearing. Excessive exposure to loud noises can even cause tinnitus, a disorder in which a person hears sound in the absence of corresponding external sound,” he said. Continue reading

Facing the urban challenges ahead

Ahmad Rafay Alam

A few newspaper reports from last week, taken from various publications, when read carefully, reveal the challenges the new government of Punjab will face when it assumes charge and comes face to face with the challenges urban planning before it.

The first is a report that an open drain in DHA Lahore is causing health problems to nearby residents. Originally planned to channel storm water, this drains is now, like the 16 odd other open drains in the city, a floating cesspool of raw and untreated sewerage. The drain that passes through the DHA, like all the other open drains in Lahore, easily offends and can overwhelm even the heartiest of men. Not only that, since the noxious and toxic gases emitted by decomposing waste are well known corrosives, the newspaper report reveals that the open drain is a constant source of attrition on any metal kept outdoors. No air conditioner or, worse, generator, is safe!

But the olfactory displeasures of the well ensconced rich are not the only point to note. The writer of the newspaper report quite dutifully interviewed all the usual suspects. He spoke to residents of the area, the secretary of the Punjab Environmental Protection department, the managing director of the Water and Sanitation Agency, the district officer of the Solid Waste Management, Lahore, the secretary of the Defence Housing Authority and even a doctor at Mayo Hospital. Continue reading