Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai has announced a committee comprising local and foreign health experts to probe the deaths of children in the province, reportedly being caused by the measles vaccine.
Addressing a news conference at the office of the provincial health secretary on Thursday, Tarakai said, “The committee would comprise officials of the World Health Organization (WHO), Unicef, district health officials and senior child specialists.”
“We have no doubts about the quality of the vaccine the federal government has purchased in consultation with Unicef and WHO,” Tarakai reiterated.
The minister stated that at the moment the government was not in a position to comment on the cause of the children’s deaths and was awaiting the results of the investigation it has ordered.
Tarakai presumed the deceased children might have had health issues prior to the vaccination. “All hospitals in the province have been directed to provide healthcare facilities to those affected by the medicine on a priority basis,” added Tarakai.
The minister further said the children of the province can only be protected from the disease by the help of the vaccine, and the immunisation campaign will continue till May 31 as per schedule. Following this, the vaccine will be available at basic health units.
According to Tarakai, the government has immunised 7.4 million children across the province during the ongoing drive and its target of vaccinating 9.6 million children will be achieved by the end of the 12-day drive.
Five children have died in K-P during the vaccination drive, while hundreds have been rushed to hospitals after they fainted following the injections.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2014.
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