During a 10-day anti-measles drive, around 7,000 children in the Rawalpindi district missed measles vaccination due to parental refusal and out-of-town summer vacation. The campaign aimed to cover 1.298 million children from six months to 10 years of age.
Talking to The Express Tribune, District Superintendent Vaccination Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain said 1.291 million children were vaccinated during the 10-day campaign which commenced on July 8. “Considering the number of missed children, the 10 day anti-measles drive was extended for two days to cover them.”
The majority of the parental refusals were reported from posh areas where parents were of the view that their children had already been vaccinated against measles under the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Hussain stated. “Some parental refusals were reported from Pakhtun families who did not let the vaccination team immunise their children.” Other children who were missed were the ones who had gone out of the city for summer vacation, he added. “The 600 teams comprising 788 vaccinators made all-out efforts to make the campaign a success and vaccinate every child in the targeted age bracket.”
According to a source at the District Health Office, Rawalpindi, since January, 800 confirmed cases of measles have been reported from Rawalpindi district alone, resulting in three deaths. Though a decline has been witnessed in the number of measles cases but still it is too early to say that its outbreak has been controlled, said the official who did not wish to reveal his name. The number of children missed could be the source of its spread, he added.
Dr Javed Hayat, head of the infectious diseases section at Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi said four new cases of measles were brought to the hospital during the last 48 hours, out of which one is from Rawalpindi and one from Attock. A total of eight children suffering from measles are currently admitted.
In July, a significant decrease in the number of cases has been witnessed and two to three cases are reported every day, he said. “I’m hopeful that this anti-measles campaign will help save lives.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.