National News

Measles crisis in KPK- Enquiry committee formed


Deaths were caused by ‘a human error’ – Initial report.

PESHAWAR: The health department in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is facing a severe crisis with the rising number of children dying due to a Measles outbreak in the province. A curable disease like measles has killed 79 children in the last five months in Peshawar alone. The Measles crisis has driven the provincial health minister Shahram Khan Tarakai to order a detailed enquiry into the matter.

In a press conference, the minister stated that an enquiry committee has been formed with high level representations from Health department, Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar, World Health Organisation and the Expanded Programme on Immunisation. The minister has promised strict action against any officials who are found to be negligent in this matter. The preliminary investigation has shown that the deaths were caused by ‘a human error’.

“The government will take disciplinary action against those found guilty of negligence and will ensure safety of all children in future,” Mr. Tarakai said

One reason is the negligence of the parents who fail to get their children vaccinated in time, despite the free of cost provision of vaccines in hospitals.It was also suspected that the injections were being administered by some unskilled staff members. While the parents are demanding a door to door vaccination campaign for the children.

According to media reports, a total 4,414 cases of measles were reported in K-P in the last five months along with seven deaths. These included three children in Upper Dir and two each in Karak and Nowshera. Only in the city of Peshawar,  around 2343 children have been affected.

Data obtained from three major hospitals in Peshawar showed the Lady Reading Hospital registered 878 cases with 58 deaths, Hayatabad Medical Complex received 318 cases with 15 deaths and Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) registered 171 cases and six deaths.

The large number of Measles patients visiting hospitals in Peshawar, show that the disease is reaching epidemic proportions in the city. A campaign may be initiated in the province from September onwards. However, a door to door campaign may not be possible right now,” an EPI official has stated.

Measles is a highly infectious disease, presenting fever caused by nose and throat secretions of an infected person, as he coughs and sneezes. The symptoms include small white spots inside the child’s cheeks. It can be prevented with two vaccination doses. The first at the age of nine months and the second at the age of 15 months. Every child contract measles if not vaccinated in time.

June 5, 2014

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