Anti-measles drive fails to achieve target

Six-day vaccination campaign gets one-day extension

Jamil Mirza June 26, 2023
File photo of a child being vaccinated. PHOTO: REUTERS


The six-day measles prevention campaign, launched on June 19 in the wake of the alarming rise in the number of children suffering from the illness, has failed to achieve its target of vaccinating 300,000 children.

The number of children suffering from acute viral respiratory illness in the entire Rawalpindi district has gone beyond 600. In this regard, the measles prevention drive has been extended to June 26. So far 253,000 children have been vaccinated against the disease.

The training of field staff and vaccine distribution were completed ahead of the vaccination drive while police security was also provided to the field staff. However, in the limits of Amrit Amaral police station, a measles vaccination team was attacked by unruly youths, leaving the health officials injured.

In order to control the epidemic of measles among the youth children across the district, children between the ages of six months and five years were vaccinated against measles so that the children could not become victims of the disease in the future.

The District Health Authority had prepared a plan to vaccinate 350,000 children between the ages of six months and five years in 60 union councils (UCs) of the district.

Sources said 180 teams performed their duties during the measles prevention campaign.

Assistance was sought from the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner, Rawalpindi, Chaklala and Wah cantonment executive officers, station headquarters, headquarters 10-Corps, director colleges, private schools association president, and others. At present, 50 children suffering from measles are being treated in different hospitals while the rest of the children are receiving medical care at their homes.

According to District Health Officer, Dr Ehsan Ghani, 350,000 children in 60 UCs with a population of 2.2 million are to be vaccinated against measles, and the target will be achieved with the one-day extension.

According to sources in the health department, there are 24 UCs in the district where the number of children suffering from measles is high. Therefore, more focus is being given to the vaccination of children in the sensitive union councils.


Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2023.


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