Below the poverty line: Extreme cold kills 8 children in Multan

All children belong to nomads living in slum areas.

Owais Raza January 07, 2011

MULTAN: Eight children have died in two weeks due to severely cold weather in Multan, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The children, who lived in the slum areas of Gulshan Mahar Colony, caught pneumonia while two others died due to measles.

More than 227 children in the area are suffering from various diseases, including pneumonia and measles, and 95 per cent of these children are under the age of 10.

After the issue was brought up in media reports, the health department established several camps to provide immediate medical assistance to the people.

However, according to Multan’s Executive District Officer (EDO) Health Zafar Islam, these people have refused medical help. “This is not because of negligence on part of the health department. We have visited these people but they do not allow us to treat anyone,” he said, adding that for the time being, the department has managed to shift six children, who were in critical condition, to Multan.

Islam said that when measles erupted in the town, he suspended the vaccinator, Shaukat, who had been deployed to monitor the situation in the area.

However, when The Express Tribune spoke to those living in the slums, they said that no health professional had come to visit them. They said they went to government hospitals but the staff treated them with disdain and was unhelpful.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2011.


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