PESHAWAR/JAMRUD: The Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) administration has declared an emergency after a one-month-old brought to the medical facility died of bronchiolitis or possibly pneumonia. Bronchiolitis is a less severe form of pneumonia. Three other children also died in Jamrud, Khyber Agency of similar causes.
According to LRH officials, emergency was declared after around 20 children with bronchiolitis/pneumonia and respiratory tract infection were admitted to the hospital by 4pm on Sunday. More were expected due to the cold weather.
An LRH paediatrician stated majority of the patients were brought from the outskirts of the city, while some came from other districts, including Nowshera and Kohat. He added children from Dir also reached the medical facility.
Doctors suggested children should not be exposed to the cold weather and remain indoors. They also said the young ones must also be stopped from sitting in front of the heating system; specifically gas heaters. The medics added children should stay protected from the cold by wearing warm clothes.
“It [the cold] can lead to pneumonia and throat infection, but more than 50% of the children develop chest problems,” Pakistan Paediatric Association K-P President Dr Amin Jan told The Express Tribune. He also stressed children must be kept indoors and not exposed to the cold. Once a child has a viral infection, parents must contact paediatricians without any delay as there can be complications.
Dr Muhammad Imran Khan at Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) said most cases arrived with symptoms caused by the cold air.
“I will say things must be prevented first. Rather than consulting paediatricians, parents must adopt preventive measures,” Muhammad Imran emphasised. He stated that children were the most vulnerable to infectious diseases.
Dr Aqeel Khan Khattak, a paediatrician at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), stated a number of children were also brought to his facility. Majority of them belonged to nearby areas.
“The [cold] spell mostly starts in November and ends in February or March. However, the main problems occur in December or January,” Khattak said. He echoed the advice given by the other doctors; immediately take children with bronchiolitis- related complications to the hospital.
Three die of pneumonia in Jamrud
Three young boys died of pneumonia brought on by the bitter cold in different parts of Jamrud tehsil in Khyber Agency on Sunday.
Agency Surgeon Dr Niaz Afridi has asked people to adopt precautionary measures for the health of children.
Officials said Hazrat Umar, the son of Mohammad Sher, died in Wormando Mela village, while the grandson of Latif died in Tedi Bazaar. Kamran died of the same causes in Tedi Bazaar as well.
These victims all had pneumonia which physicians say is common in winter.
Sail Khan Afridi from Sur Kamar said power outages and low gas pressure added to the miseries of the people. He said poor tribesmen could not afford heating alternatives such as firewood. He anticipated more deaths, adding children and the elderly were the main victims of the cold spell. Niaz confirmed the same to The Express Tribune, saying most of the affected people are over 60 years old. He advised all to take precautionary measures, while hospitals were put on alert.
Young people from Kokikhel tribe expressed their anger at the administration and health officials for failing to protect children. At a meeting held on Sunday, they demanded the government ensure continuous power supply to the area otherwise the participants would take to the streets.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2016.
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