With nearly 500 deaths in two months, measles continue to spread havoc

Published: January 24, 2013

Several children who were vaccinated earlier have contracted measles. Doctors claim it may be due to their immune system. PHOTO: EXPRESS

SUKKUR: The death toll from the nearly two-month-old measles outbreak has reached 485 according to unofficial statistics, yet there are parts of Sindh where the vaccine has yet to reach.

During a meeting on Tuesday night at Sukkur circuit house, adviser to chief minister on relief Halim Adil Shaikh told The Express Tribune that there are some desert belts of Sukkur where the vaccinators have not reached. The health workers have been allocated four-wheelers and have nearly Rs3.4 million at their disposal, but their performance has been very poor, he felt.

Shaikh met the residents of several villages in Salehpat taluka and even some parts of Khairpur district, who told him that no vaccinators have visited them. The residents of Bagan Shambhani village complained that they are hardly one kilometre away from the main road, but they were missed. The situation is health centres is also poor as there is a shortage of doctors and paramedics, the adviser said.

The authorities are to blame for not recording the actual number of deaths from measles, Shaikh said. Eleven children have died in Sarohi village alone, he pointed out.

Measles among vaccinated children

According to Shaikh, several children who were brought into Civil Hospital, Sukkur, and Red Crescent Hospital contracted measles even though they were vaccinated. This is quite alarming because it means that the vaccines are not kept cold when they are transported from one location to another, he said.

Muhammad Sachal Jagirani lost his two-year-old son, Shahid, on Wednesday morning at Red Crescent Hospital even though he was vaccinated. The family lives in Arain village near Sukkur where Shahid was vaccinated a few weeks ago. Some time later, the boy showed symptoms of measles and the doctors advised the family to take him to Sukkur, but the little boy could not make it.

A resident of Budho Chohan village, which is around 10 kilometres from Sukkur, Mashooq Ali Chohan told The Express Tribune that his two-year-old son, Shoukat Ali, was vaccinated one month ago but he contracted the virus five days ago. Similarly, a resident of Shikarpur’s Eidgah Muhalla, Pehlwan Otho’s daughter was vaccinated three weeks ago but she too contracted the virus. Otho claimed that five children have died from measles in their village in the past one month.

There are several patients in Civil hospital who were earlier  vaccinated but are still suffering from measles.

Sukkur district health officer Dr Jay Ram Das confirmed that it is possible to contract the virus even after vaccination. “It depends upon the immune system of the child,” he told The Express Tribune. The success rate of the anti-measles vaccine is not more than 85 per cent, he added.

Sometimes, children’s immune system does not accept the vaccine and they fall prey to the virus. In these cases, Dr Das said, they use vitamin A drops to the children, besides taking extra post-measles care so that they are safe from further complications.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2013.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Chinmay
    Jan 24, 2013 - 1:16AM

    Very sad… as an Indian I pray for all these Pakistani children… India also needs to improve vaccination in states like Uttar Pradesh and Central-East India tribal areas

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  • Vampire
    Jan 24, 2013 - 6:53AM

    I am so unable to understand why Indians are so interested in Pakistani News? India is a big country and they must have enough news to consume daily… The Answer is simple, Pakistanphobia.

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  • John B
    Jan 24, 2013 - 7:19AM

    Death from preventable diseases in this day and age is unacceptable and inexcusable. A nationwide effort at all cost should be the goal and preventing vaccination should be punishable by incarceration. It is a public health risk, and national emergency of today and tomorrow and years after.

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  • Shaami Lahore
    Jan 24, 2013 - 8:02AM

    I just visited UK and I saw atleast two venues where Pakistanis were arranging Concerts for Palestine. Tomorrow in Birmingham there is another concert for Palestine as well arranged by Pakistanis. But when i asked them what about Our Own Pakistani poor that why we dont raise any money for them and instantly i got a fatwa of being a non Muslim. It is my request to Upper Middle class of Pakistan and foreign based Pakistanis that All Arab countries are taking care of Palestinians but nobody is taking care of Afghan Refugees where more than 50 died of cold in Refugee camps in Pakistan in this week alone and more than 500 poor children died in Pakistan because of measles and many diseases. Kindly for God’s sake forget the whole world and just help your own people and Afghan refugees in Pakistan as the So Called Islamic Ummah already left us alone and we should help each other and we should not expect from the government to help them but our upper middle class and people from all walks of life now have to stand up to help their own people.

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  • san
    Jan 24, 2013 - 9:37AM

    One after another deadly spread of diseases and death from medicine shows that Punjab government are allowing companies to test their experiments on these poor people. Proper investigation need to be conducted.

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  • Akshay, India
    Jan 24, 2013 - 10:56AM

    @Shaami Lahore: Arabs are pure Muslims thats why the “ummah” takes care of them.

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  • Khurram
    Jan 24, 2013 - 1:31PM

    @san Yes So Sukkur aind Sindh have to be controlled by Punjab government then? Read the report again and then comment.Recommend

  • Singh
    Jan 24, 2013 - 7:10PM

    @Vampire:
    We read news from Pakistan because we are always worried about our estrange brother. Remember we were one before 1947. I think it is good thing to understand each other better and only source is internet. Every one have access to each other unbiased news which promote understanding. I hope you should think in angle also.

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  • stranger
    Jan 24, 2013 - 7:49PM

    Children are gifts from god.I wonder how people can ignore such a deadly disease.My heart goes out to all mothers of children who have lost their lives for this reason.

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