Chaman, Balochistan: Supporting Department of Health to respond to an outbreak, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is running a 30-bed isolation ward for treatment of the measles patients in the District Headquarters (DHQ) hospital in Chaman, District Qilla Abdullah. MSF is fully managing the isolation ward through medical staff, medicines, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), water and power supply, sanitization and health education. Since 1st week of January when MSF opened the isolation ward, a total of 125 patients have been treated successfully and 250 patients sent home on oral medications. MSF has also vaccinated 756 children for measles since then.
Measles is a viral infection that starts in the respiratory system. Its symptoms appear between 10 and 14 days and include a runny nose, cough, eye infection, rash and high fever. In up to 20 per cent of cases, measles causes serious and potentially fatal complications, including severe diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, blindness and inflammation of the brain. Those most atrisk of contracting measles are under- or unimmunised people, especially children aged under five.
As there are cases of measles throughout the year in Chaman, MSF already supports department of health and runs a five-bed isolation unit inside its paediatric ward in the Qilla Abdullah DHQ hospital.
Its teams started receiving significant number of children with measles from the end of December 2020. There were over 1000 cases of measles reported in one month in the district Qilla Abdullah.
MSF medical focal point, Dr. Mir Waiz said in a media briefing, “Our emergency response to the measles outbreak in Chaman is a part of MSF’s commitment to supporting Department of Health in responding to the emergencies including natural disasters and disease outbreaks. We have opened the extended ward for a period of two months; however, the treatment of the children with measles will continue in our regular activities. People must take cautionary measures including isolating patients with measles and getting them treated as soon as possible to stop the outbreak.” Most patients recover from measles within two to three weeks, but in low-resource settings, up to 15 per cent of patients infected with measles die from one or more of these complications. Children, especially those under five and those who may have other immune-suppressing illnesses, such as severe malnutrition, make up most of those who die from the disease. “As vaccination is the best protection against measles, we urge all parents to get their children vaccinated in order to stop the ongoing outbreak of measles and avoid any such emergency situation in the future. We supported Department of Health’s immunization programme to vaccinate 22,830 children for childhood diseases including 2,631 children for measles in 2020,” added Mir Waiz.
In Chaman DHQ Hospital, MSF supports medical services for women and children, including reproductive, neonatal and paediatric healthcare. Since 2007, MSF has been supporting a 24-hour delivery room including surgical management of the complicated deliveries, a paediatric inpatient ward, a newborn unit, and emergency room for trauma cases.
Malnourished children under the age of five are also enrolled in a feeding programme. Blood transfusions, water and sanitation for the health structures, and a basic laboratory are also part of MSF's services in the hospital. MSF also supervises the women's outpatient department, which is managed by the Department of Health staff following MSF protocols.
Only in 2020, MSF teams assisted 4,591 deliveries including 346 caesarean sections, admitted 936 newborns and children in the neonatal and paediatric wards, treated 13,337 trauma patients in the emergency room, conducted 10,785 antenatal consultations and held 12,807 health promotion sessions.
Médecins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian association that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF first started working in Pakistan in 1986, and now provides urgently needed quality medical care to people in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces. MSF works in collaboration with the health authorities as well as federal, provincial and local disaster management authorities in the country, and its activities in Pakistan are funded solely by private donations, with no institutional or government contributions.
Médecins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian association that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF first started working in Pakistan in 1986, and now provides urgently needed quality medical care to people in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces. MSF works in collaboration with the health authorities in the country and its activities in Pakistan are funded solely by private donations, with no institutional or government contributions.
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