Measles outbreak: 2.9mn children vaccinated in Sindh

Karachi: Sindh health minister Dr Saghir Ahmad has said 2.9mn children in eight most affected districts of Sindh have already been vaccinated for measles, while the second vaccination will be given in February.

Addressing a meeting to review the situation of measles and polio in the province, here on Friday he said the low rate of routine immunization was the basic cause of spread of the measles. He ordered the EDO’s of health department to increase the rate of routine immunization in their respective areas. He said concerned EDO health would be held responsible and departmental action would be taken against him if routine immunization rate decrease from 95 percent in any area.

“We have contracted the federal government, World Health Organization and UNICEF for vaccination against measles”, he said, adding said Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Shikarpur, Larkana, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Jacobabad and Kashmore are the mostly affected districts.

He said 1539 cases of measles were reported in different districts of the province in which 11 children lost their lives from 1 January to 10 January 2013. He said 144 samples have been obtained from the province for detailed analysis.

Health minister said 997 mobile and 425 fixed teams are working in the affected districts. He said Mop-up and routine immunization were in progress in other districts. He added that the vaccination campaign was first started for the children ageing from 9 months to 15 month and later upgraded for children ageing up to 10 years.

Dr Sagheer said Rangers have agreed to give help and offered that polio workers may visit the areas along with rangers when they visit different areas along with the teams of Election Commission of Pakistan.

He asked the Deputy Commissioners who were present in the meeting that they can contact Rangers officials so as to chalk out schedules for polio teams along with them.

He said the next anti-polio campaign would be started from 28th of January to 30th January in province and 4th to 6th February in Karachi.

Addressing the meeting special representative of the President of Pakistan on polio Dr Azra Pechuho said President had taken serious notice of measles deaths. She appreciated the efforts of Provisional Health Minister to monitor measles campaign in different districts of Sindh.

Sectary health Aftab Ahmad Khatri, representatives of WHO and UNICEF, Deputy Commissioners and EDO’s Health of different districts were also present.