Health Ministry to tackle dengue outbreak through effective plan

A worker fumigates to kill mosquito larvaes to fight against the spread of dengue fever at a residential area of Karachi on Sept. 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2019

Health Ministry to tackle dengue outbreak through effective plan

  • Around 11,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease across the country since July
  • No reliable vaccine available to date to treat the disease, doctors say

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Health said on Monday that it has devised an effective action plan to tackle the outbreak of dengue fever as around 11,000 people, including children and women, have been diagnosed with the disease across the country since July this year.
“We are sure to deal with this [dengue] outbreak in a week or so,” Sajid Hussain Shah, a ministry spokesperson, told Arab News. “All required facilities and medicines are available in hospitals and there is no need to panic.”
The dengue is a painful mosquito-borne disease commonly found in hot, wet regions of the tropics and subtropics during the rainy months. A record number of patients is reported this year across Pakistan after 2011 when more than 27,000 people were diagnosed with the disease and over 300 of them died.
Common symptoms of the disease include high fever, runny nose, muscle and joint pains, and mild skin rashes. In serious cases, it can cause internal bleeding and death.
“A scientific research will be carried out in the dengue-hit areas in the coming days to ascertain its possible causes and prevention,” Shah said, adding that an “effective action plan” was devised to control the epidemic, though he did not give further details.
He also informed that a ‘Dengue Control and Operations Center’ had been set up in the Ministry of Health, Islamabad, which would review countrywide dengue-related situation on a daily basis and take steps to control it.
“The areas where dengue larvae are found are being sprayed along with the awareness campaign among people about preventive measures,” Shah said.
Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world, increasing 30-fold in the past 50 years, and putting more than half the world’s population at risk, according to the World Health Organization.
Another study suggests that nearly a billion people are threatened to be exposed to the mosquito-borne disease by 2080 as temperatures continue to rise with the climate crisis.
Dr. Isaac Asher at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences said that no reliable vaccine was available to date to treat the disease and mosquito control had been the only option so far to deal with it.
“The risk of complications is in less than one percent of dengue patients, and if warning signals are known to the public, all deaths from the diseases can easily be avoided,” he told Arab News.
Asher said that hot and humid weather induced by climate change had created “ideal conditions” for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs and spread across a territory rapidly. “It is now known to everybody that global warming is playing a major role in the spread of the disease,” he said. “The vector-borne diseases could pose a major challenge in coming days.”


Tuned in: Pakistani twins ride the wave of Ertugrul’s success with local soundtrack

Updated 26 May 2020

Tuned in: Pakistani twins ride the wave of Ertugrul’s success with local soundtrack

  • Musician brothers say reaction to the cover version has been a ‘breakthrough’ experience
  • Work gets millions of views, retweets by Turkish deputy minister, global bloggers

KARACHI: It’s got a ring to it.
Or so say fans and followers of 26-year-old Pakistani musician brothers, Leo Twins, after the duo created a cover version of Turkish drama Diriliş: Ertuğrul’s original soundtrack.
“We were actually asked by our fans to create a cover version of the original soundtrack in the comments section of our channel. So, it’s an amazing feeling to know that it’s being loved so much,” Sharoon Leo, one of the twins, said during an exclusive interview with Arab News.
It’s the cover track which accompanies the roll credits for Ertugrul Ghazi, the Urdu-dubbed version of the drama series which is based on the history of the Muslim Oghuz Turks from the 13th century, and was released on state-run PTV on April 25 after Prime Minister Imran Khan said it would “help the youth learn about Islamic values and history.”
Since being released on video-sharing platform Youtube three weeks ago, the soundtrack has already garnered 5.1 million views.
Sharoon told Arab News that while recreating the cover was a challenge – owing to the popularity of the OST conceptualized by Jenerik Müziği – they’ve tried to retain its “Middle-Eastern feel” as much as possible.
“We always try to do our covers differently from the originals,” Sharoon said talking about their cover versions of HBO’s popular series, Game of Thrones, and Pakistani drama Mere Pass Tum Ho.
“There was an instrument in the original track which we thought could best be replaced with the rubab. We also enhanced the violin, which was not very obvious initially,” he explained.

A screengrab from the music video of the track 'Hum Zalmi' featuring Leo Twins.

While Sharoon plays the violin and cello, his twin, Haroon works with other instruments such as the guitar, rubab, tabla, piano, cajon, ukulele, mandolin, darbuka, and more.
Together, they set up Leo Twins, a namesake of their zodiac sign, in their birthplace of Rawalpindi in 2012.
Sharoon credits their success to their “real teacher in music,” Ustad Idrees Ahmed Khan, explaining how a simple gesture of kindness on his part set the tone for their triumphant rise.
“One day, we saw a guitar and violin at a shop, but did not have enough money to buy them. So, we sold our new mobiles and paid for the instruments. Ustaad Idrees Ahmed Khan, who used to give music lessons at the shop, was observing us the whole time, and asked if we would like to learn music from him for free. He said it was because he saw a passion in us for music, which was rare those days, especially in our generation,” Sharoon said.
That was eight years ago, and while they’ve had several hits and misses through the years, they got their first big break in 2015, after featuring alongside music giants, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam, as part of their team on Nescafe Basement’s Season 3.
However, nothing compares to the accolades they’ve received for the Ertugrul cover, Sharoon said, with the soundtrack being retweeted by Turkish Deputy Minister Ali Shaheen and several other bloggers in Turkey.
“It has attracted a very different audience. We have been doing covers to pay tribute to our legendary artists for several years now and could only gather 45,000 subscribers. Still, after we uploaded the Ertugrul Ghazi soundtrack, the number of subscribers has crossed 243K. This soundtrack has given us a new breakthrough,” he said.