Measles has claimed 41 lives over the past four months and 8,699 children have contracted the disease in the Punjab, said Health Minister Salima Hashmi on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference at Children’s Hospital, Hashmi said it was shameful that vaccination coverage in the Punjab stood at 57 per cent. She said it should be at least 90 per cent. She said the Health Department had 5,724,000 doses of the measles vaccine. She said most of the measles cases were being reported from Lahore, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Faisalabad and Gujranwala. She said isolation wards for the affected kids had been established in all public hospitals.
“Under the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) the coverage of vaccination against various diseases is 57 per cent which is very low. An EPI week is being observed from April 24 to April 30 to create awareness about this. The theme of the week will be Measles Should be Stopped,” she added. Health Secretary Arif Nadeem said the vaccine for measles was available. He said 30.3 million more doses were being purchased at a cost of Rs3 billion. On Sunday, 47 new cases of measles were admitted to public hospital.
In the last two days, six children died of measles and 65 cases were reported. “During the past four months over 1,200 children with measles have been admitted to Mayo Hospital. In the last three days, six of them died while most of the other children were discharged after being cured,” said Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Zahid Pervaiz said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2013.
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