Measles outbreak: ‘Substandard vaccines administered to children’

LHC summons hospital chiefs to explain why children are still dying from measles.

Our Correspondent May 17, 2013
Vaccines had been stolen and sold to many private hospitals as well as government vaccination centres, says Advocate Siddique. PHOTO: FILE


The Lahore High Court on Friday issued a notice to the government for a reply and directed the medical superintendents of three public hospitals to appear in court on May21, with the observation that several children had died of measles apparently due to the negligence of the Health Department.

The court further observed that the number of deaths from measles had not decreased despite the government’s claims of having taken precautionary measures.

The court was hearing a petition moved by the Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique seeking a judicial inquiry into measles related deaths to fix responsibility for the failure to control the epidemic.

Siddique said several children had died of measles despite being vaccinated. He said both federal and provincial governments had failed to control the outbreak.

He produced some documents in support of his claim that there had been fake coverage fake vaccination in many areas. Vaccines had been stolen and sold to many private hospitals as well as government vaccination centres, he said.

Siddique said several health officials, including the city health EDO, were involved in selling vaccines to many private hospitals. No action had been taken against them, the counsel said.

He said that substandard vaccines were being administered to children, which was why the deaths from measles had not stopped.

The court summoned the medical superintendents of Jinnah Hospital, Mayo Hospital and Services Hospital to explain the reason for the deaths and the measures taken to stop them.

LHC summons former LDA director

The Lahore High Court on Friday issued a notice to the government, district coordination officer, and a former director general of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) besides the incumbent, on a petition seeking directions to fix responsibility for deaths in the fire at the LDA Plaza and to make arrangements to control such incidents in the future.

The court directed the respondents to submit replies till June 5. The petition was moved by Advocate Noshab A Khan. He submitted that the incident had occurred due to the criminal negligence of former LDA director general Ahad Khan Cheema. At least 24 people had died in the fire due to the poor fire escape arrangements, he said.

Khan said had Cheema acted upon the recommendations of the Fire Safety Commission, the tragedy could have been avoided. He said it was a travesty that the authority meant to regulate buildings had not followed the laws in its own building. The nine-storey LDA Plaza built 35 years ago was in violation of the building by laws, he said.

The officials at the plaza had informed Rescue-1122 about the fire 45 minutes after it had broken out, he said. Record of several inquiries had been reduced to ashes in the fire, he said.

Khan said the Rescue director general had said that the building did not have sufficient fire fighting arrangements. He quoted the director general as saying that the loss of lives could have been avoided if they [Rescue-1122] had been informed early.

The rescue was hampered by the flawed design of the plaza’s staircase, he said.

Rescue officials too did not have a ladder that could reach the 8th and 9th floors of the building.

Khan requested the court to take action against the former LDA director general and others responsible for the disaster. He sought directions for Rescue-1122 to procure equipment that would help control fire in skyscrapers.

He prayed for directions to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to remove all phone cellular towers from roof tops of tall buildings so that they would not become a hindrance to rescue through helicopters as they did in the LDA fire incident.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2013.


numbersnumbers | 8 years ago | Reply

Lets see, real measles vaccine stolen and resold to others, then "substandard" (Fake???) vaccine administered in its place??? Fire safety regulations ignored (in government buildings) resulting in needless horrific deaths! Once again, Pakistanis again "smearing the Good name of Pakistan"!!!!

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