HYDERABAD: The measles virus claimed the lives of seven children in Kashmore-Kandhkot and Ghotki districts on Thursday. Four deaths were reported from the former and three from the latter.
Two-year-old Riaz Malik, three-year-old Sadori Malik and four-year-old Ayesha Marwari died after being infected with measles for around a week in Wazir Khan Bijarani village in Kashmore-Kandhkot. The fourth death of two-year-old Shamail Malik occurred in a suburban locality of Tangwani taluka in the same district.
District Health Officer Dr Kartar Lal told the local media that measles cases are being reported from different parts of Tangwani area. He added that the medical teams have been sent to the area to treat the ailing children and immunise others. The DHO said the blood samples of the children who recently died have been sent to Islamabad for laboratory tests in order to establish the cause of these deaths.
Separately, two-year-old Muhammad Yameen, two-year-old Ghulam Muhammad Malik and one-year-old Ahsan Malik died due to measles in Aarbi Malik village of Ghotki district. Shakil Ahmed Malik, Mohammed Ameen Malik and other residents of the village complained to the media that the deceased children were not given medical treatment on time.
They claimed that several other children are sick with similar symptoms in their village. At least 12 measles-caused deaths have been reported from Ghotki in the past two months.
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In April, 26 children of a single tribe from Balochistan employed for the wheat harvest in Dadu district were hospitalised for measles.
The health authorities of Dadu were awakened to the situation after the Baloch peasants staged a protest following the death of one-year-old Salma, daughter of Mohammed Khan Brohi. Ahmed Khan Brohi and Ilyas Brohi told the local media that dozens of their children in their village of Duabo were displaying symptoms similar to those Salma displayed.
"We went to the local health authorities to request them to send a team to diagnose and treat our children but they didn't come until one of our children died," Ahmed Khan had said. Dadu-based child protection unit incharge Naheed Qazi, who visited the village after media reports of the child's death, claimed that eight children have so far died this year in the district while the contagion is relentlessly spreading.
"The need is to fix responsibility on the doctors who in the first place failed to immunise the children against polio and those in the second place who failed to provide the ill children timely medical treatment," she had suggested.
Earlier in January, six children died within the span of a few days in Gorakh Town Colony in Johi taluka of Dadu district. The health authorities of Dadu had claimed that the officials or staff will face action if they were found negligent of duty in the inquiry. However, no action was taken despite the announcement.
Although measles-related deaths have been reported from all parts of Sindh, the virus has reportedly gripped the districts of upper Sindh more than those in the lower region of the province.