It was being speculated that country, particularly Punjab is in the grip of another outbreak, this time swine flue. First, Saira Afzal Tarar, State Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination categorically said that swine flu has no existence in the country, rather seasonal influenza was the reason behind the 17 deaths reported this year in Pakistan. But on the other side, statement of Chief Minister of Punjab is telling another story; he directed the provincial health department to adopt prompt and effective measures for the eradication of swine flu.
One thing is evident from both the contradicting statements that there is no communication between the federal and provincial governments to look into the matter seriously. Entities to deal with the issue showed their immature behaviour and did not coordinate before passing statements. Masses are in a fix whom to believe or whom to not.
Saira Tarrar explained to media that a total of 350 samples from across Pakistan have been tested at the National Institute of Health (NIH) for the present strain of influenza affecting the country and as many as 110 persons were tested positive for the disease and 15 deaths were reported from Punjab, one from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one from Islamabad. According to the minister, most deaths were reported among persons with multiple diseases.
There is a need to take all necessary measures to save the people from the disease. The focus should be on launching a countrywide awareness campaign to educate the masses about the symptoms of the disease and inform them about curative measures.
Coordination needed at provincial and federal levels because contradicting statements were issued regarding swine flue.