An outbreak of measles has claimed the lives of eight children in four villages of Torghar district in the past week, according to locals. Official sources, however, have denied the casualties but confirm reports of the outbreak.
Villagers of Akazai tribe told The Express Tribune over telephone that at least eight children between the ages of 8 and 12 years have died of measles in Toram, Shergarh, Sarzongli and Torband villages during the past one week. They said that last month four children died of measles in other parts of the district; however, no preventive measures were taken by the administration. They maintained that if the district administration had taken timely measures, the disease would not have spread to Akazai areas. He added that dozens of children are suffering from measles as a result.
Executive District Officer (EDO) Health Dr Muhammad Idris confirmed that cases of measles have surfaced in four villages of Akazai tribe in Torghar district, but denied that there were any casualties. He said that medical teams headed by doctors have been dispatched to the affected areas along with required vaccines. He said the health office was short of anti-measles vaccines but the required amount of vaccines was arranged from neighbouring districts.
The EDO Health said that shortage of resources and manpower was the main hurdle in reaching out to remote areas of the district. “With a staff of 35 members, who are directly attached with nine district health units, how can the department be expected reach to every villager in the district that has a population of 500,000?” he questioned.
He said he is in contact with his seniors at the provincial level and assured that the required staff and medicines will be provided to his district very soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2012.