Regional News

Govt urged to make EPI more effective

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MN Report

Karachi: Amid reports that diphtheria has, so far, claimed 36 lives in Punjab, Sindh health department is yet to devise a strategy to counter possible outbreak of the disease in the province.

According to reports, diphtheria had claimed 36 lives in Punjab province in the current winter season and most of these deaths were reported from Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan. The majority of the deaths were blamed on the shortage of diphtheria antitoxin.

Voicing concern over deaths of children from vaccine preventable disease, a leader of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad, demanded of Sindh health department to take precautionary measure to prevent children from such diseases.

He urged the authorities concerned to make Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) more effective and increase routine vaccination coverage across the Sindh province to prevent children from various diseases.  He said government must ensure provision of vaccines at centers and public sector hospitals.

Director Health, Karachi, Dr Zafar Ejaz, when contacted, said necessary directives have been issued to health officials for launching public awareness campaign concerning diphtheria in the areas falling under their jurisdiction.

It may be pointed out that two children had died from diphtheria in Sindh so far, out of total 10 reported cases.

The diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease and its symptoms usually begin two to seven days after infection. Symptoms of diphtheria include fever, sore throat, cough, headache, difficulty in swallowing, painful swallowing, difficulty in breathing and rapid breathing, etc.

January 6, 2016

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