PESHAWAR: Peshawar, the most populous district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, continues to remain the epicentre of epidemics because it serves as transition point for the travellers from the whole province and has more hospitals and laboratories, according to officials.

The provincial capital has been recording the highest number of Covid-19 cases since the onset of the infectious disease in the province as well dengue haemorrhagic fever in addition to being on the top of the list regarding refusals against polio drops.

Officials at the health department say that Peshawar is being visited by people from other parts of the province in connection with their businesses, official work and treatment at the hospitals due to which it records the highest number of infections.

“Most of the laboratories are located in the city, which conduct tests of people from the whole province and the positive ones are listed in Peshawar,” they told this scribe.

Provincial capital serves as transition point for travellers from entire province

So far, a total of 6,354 persons have passed away due to coronavirus including 3,140 in Peshawar, which has also reported 84,569 Covid-19 cases of the province-wide 223,630 infections.

They said that most of the mortalities occurred in Peshawar because it had more hospitals that admitted more patients and those dying were bracketed as residents of the provincial capital, which was not correct. “More patients are referred to Peshawar from the district headquarters hospitals when they become serious and they die ultimately here,” said the officials.

Presently, Peshawar is home to 309 active coronavirus cases of the total 689 positive patients. Similarly, the provincial capital has more Covid-19 laboratories, which conduct bulk of the tests of the samples from the entire province as result it is believed that Peshawar has more infections.

Only the public health reference laboratory at Khyber Medical University conducted 90 per cent of the total 5,035,049 tests in the province.

Poliomyelitis is another public health issue, which has been haunting the children for the past more than two decades with Peshawar having the highest number of unvaccinated children recorded after every campaign.

According to a report regarding the recently-concluded polio campaign, Peshawar accounted for 20,274 missed children and 7,204 refusal cases while 13,070 children remained unvaccinated as they were not available in their homes when health team visited them to immunise them.

Peshawar has been reporting the highest number of unvaccinated children in the shape of non-availability, missed and refusal as compared to any other district in the province. These issues prevail in other districts too but Peshawar is the provincial capital where all technical and administrative people are based with more resources at their disposal.

“Dengue fever is another epidemic occurring in the province now and then with Peshawar being the worst-affected district,” said officials.

In 2017, more than 20,000 persons tested positive for dengue in Peshawar and about 70 of them died. This year, no death has been recorded due to the mosquito-borne ailment in the province but of the total 1,972 cases, Peshawar’s share is 111 and it is ranked fifth after Mardan with 783 cases, Khyber with 420, Nowshera with 193 and Haripur with182 cases.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2022

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