WHO reports 27 measles deaths in Sindh this year


As the reports surfaced indicating 27 deaths this year so far under 5-year-old children due to measles, Health Minister Sindh Dr. Sagheer Ahmed denied having any such information and said he would personally inquire into the matter.
Prof. Iqbal Memon, President elect of Pakistan Pediatrics Association (PPA) Centre disclosed that a representative of Disease Early Warning System, WHO Sindh presented a report to the Sindh Health Department officials in a meeting held at Inspection and Import Depot (IID) office some days back that 27 children under 5-year of age had died of measles from January to May 2012.
Talking to PPI, he said two meetings had already been held between concerned health department officials and foreign agencies to prevent the further spread of measles.
When contacted, Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed said he had no knowledge about deaths occurred due to measles, adding he would collect information from the health department officials.
He informed that Peoples Primary HealthCare Initiative (PPHI) and all EDOs had already been directed to control measles and prepare report about its cases, even though PPHI does not fall under the health department authority.
However, Memon said the disease can spread quickly when people are crowded together. Children living in congested conditions have to be immunized immediately to protect them from this dangerous illness.
He said all districts health offices must spread awareness about this disease and doctors should collect proper data and inform their officials.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah has already formed a Technical Committee to control measles in Sindh.
Focal Person of the Technical Committee on Polio and Measles Ahmed Sheikh talking to PPI said the agencies involved in the committee include Expended Program on Immunization (EPI), World Health Organization (WHO), Unicef, Pakistan Pediatrics Association (PPA) and Disease Early Warning System Sindh. He said an anti-measles campaign would be started through media from Monday.
Provincial Coordinator of Disease Early Warning System (DEWS), World Health Organization (WHO), Sindh chapter Dr. Soomar Khoso said we have already collected data on measles in Sindh and provided it to EPI Sindh.
He said measles is a killer diseases and highly contagious. It also causes diarrhea, pneumonia, eye infection and many other serious ailments to children. Measles can be protected by vaccination, while children should get at least 2 doses of measles vaccine.
The children should get their 1st dose at completion of one month age irrespective of their previous illness. They should get 2nd dose at the age of 15 months, or any time during the second year of life provided one month has passed since the first dose is given. He informed that measles vaccine is not being given door-to-door like polio vaccination. He requested parents to take their babies to the nearest healthcare facility for measles and other routine EPI vaccines.
Incharge Expended Program on Immunization (EPI) Dr Mazhar Khamisani said hundred of patients are reported with suspected measles. He said we have collected their samples and sent them to Islamabad for test, and it would be premature to comment on the issue before getting final reports from Islamabad.