Infectious disease: Three minors die of measles in Shabqadar

Health department says it’s unsure of the current death toll.

Mureeb Mohmand November 19, 2012

SHABQADAR: Three children died due to measles in Shabqadar, Charsadda district on Sunday. 

A resident of Shabqadar Kifayatullah, said the deceased children were two-year-old Subhanullah, three-year-old Zaiboona and two-year-old Aalia. “Many children have been affected by the measles outbreak, but the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Department is not even aware of it,” he said, adding that the infected children have been shifted to the Khyber Teaching Hospital in Peshawar.

EDO Health Dr Fazal Akbar, however, said that the death of the minors was not confirmed. “Health officials have informed us about the epidemic, but we are not sure about the death toll,” he said.

Meanwhile, an administrative official at Tehsil Headquarters Hospital said that due to lack of medical facilities and doctors, the disease was spreading out of control.

Residents of Shabqadar told The Express Tribune that few people had immunised their children against measles. Some parents also complained that their children caught the infectious disease despite being vaccinated.

A villager named Kifayatullah alleged that the health department had neglected their area in the vaccination drive, adding that an immunisation drive is necessary. The government will be responsible if precious lives are lost, he said.

On Wednesday, a three-year-old boy infected with the disease died in a village of upper Swat, where 14 others were brought in with similar symptoms. The child was identified as Usman Ali, a resident of Shahoo village of Kalam. Two months back, over a 100 children were reported with measles in Kalam.

In North Waziristan, at least 18 children lost their lives due to a measles outbreak in April.

In all incidents, locals have claimed that a lack of vaccinations, doctors and medicines have worsened the situation, while health departments have denied claims assuring the people that immediate steps will be taken to ensure that every child is immunised against the disease.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2012.


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