Community-based public awareness launched to prevent XDR typhoid: Saeed Awan

KARACHI:Secretary Health Sindh Saeed Awan on Monday said that community-based public awareness has been launched in Hyderabad and other high-risk areas of Sindh province to prevent people from extensively drug resistant (XDR) typhoid fever.

He shared these views during a seminar under theme “XDR-Typhoid, Updates and Management”, organized by Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) at PMA House.

Head of Infectious Diseases, SMBB Trauma Centre, Karachi, Dr Shehla Baqi, Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Dr Farah Naz, Dr Tehreen Ansari and others were present on this occasion.

Saeed Awan said Sindh government has allocated more than Rs100 billion in health sector to improve health delivery system across the Sindh province and things will gradually improve. He said prevention strategies have been introduced to protect general public from waterborne and other diseases.

Secretary Health informed that anti-typhoid vaccination campaign would be launched in high-risk and other areas of Sindh province next week.

Chairperson, Sindh Healthcare Commission, Prof Dr Tipu Sultan laminated that young children are dying of typhoid and other waterborne diseases due to mixing of sewerage water in water supply lines.

He said unfortunately there is no safe tab water in the city for drinking purpose.

He said potable water used to be supplied across the city about 40 year ago for drinking purpose but now a days highly contaminated water is being supplied in Karachi and other parts of Sindh province which is not fit for human consumption.

He urged the stakeholders of society to join hands to ensure provision of clean drinking water to general public all over Pakistan, particularly Sindh province, to prevent waterborne diseases.

Head of Central Laboratory, Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, Dr Ghulam Fatima informed that more 500 typhoid fever cases were reported at the Central Lab in 2018 out of them 70 per cent were XDR typhoid.

She said there is not blood culture test facility available in Sindh province to diagnose XDR typhoid in public sector hospitals except in Karachi.

She regretted that XDR typhoid cases are being reported in school-going children, particularly in boys. She stressed the need of proper training of medical staff to diagnose XDR typhoid fever cases.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sindh Healthcare Commission, Dr Minhaj Qidwai said awareness through public notices are under way to sensitize the general public about typhoid and other diseases.

Ex-Secretary General of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA-Centre) Mirza Ali Azhar stressed the need of mass public awareness drive across Sindh province to prevent people from XDR typhoid. He said it is responsibility of the government to ensure provision of clean potable water to people.

Secretary General Pakistan Medical Association (Centre) Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad urged the general public to avoid taking antibiotics or self-medication as in these cases bacteria develop resistance against antibiotics.

He said risk of acquiring XDR typhoid in Sindh province is high because of insufficient access to clean water and poor sanitation and hygiene.

He advised the general public to follow precautionary measures like taking safe (boiled) drinking water. He said ice of unknown purity should also be avoided. He said fruits, vegetables and utensils should be washed with boiled water. He said wash your hands with soap before eating, wash your hands with soap after visiting toilet. He said people should avoid eating outside. They should always visit qualified doctor and avoid self-medication, Hakeems/ homeopaths and other health providers.

According to Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) XDR typhoid cases have exceeded the 8,000 figure, with most cases being reported from Karachi, followed by Hyderabad, Sanghar and the adjoining districts.