Measles cases on the rise in several districts in Sindh

Report
from DAWN Group of Newspapers
Published on 02 Apr 2018 View Original

Ghulam Hussain Khawaja Updated April 02, 2018

THATTA: Several hundred children with symptoms of measles have been taken to government and private health facilities in Thatta, Sujawal and other districts as the entire Sindh has been in the grip of sizzling weather conditions over the past week.

Facts and figures collected by this reporter from Thatta and Sujawal districts’ health facilities suggested that over 200 such cases were reported and scores of them were admitted for treatment. Families of eight children, who died during treatment, claimed that the cause of their death was measles but health department officials attributed most of them to complications resulting from inappropriate traditional treatment opted by the families before consulting doctors.

The latest victim appeared to be one-and-a-half years old boy, Sher Ali, s/o Sain Dino Shoro, who died in Ghulam Rasool Shoro village near Jhoke Sharif on Saturday. Seven children infected with measles died during treatment during the last week in different parts of Sujawal district.

Government and private health facilities in Thatta and Sujawal district confirmed that more than 200 measles cases were reported mainly from the coastal towns of Chuhar Jamali, Jhoke Sharif and adjacent villages in Sujawal district as well as different parts of Thatta district.

District health officer (DHO) of Sujawal Dr Hussain Ahmed Umrani agreed that measles in certain parts of the district was on the rise due to extremely hot weather conditions but insisted that it was not an outbreak. “It’s wrong to conclude that the patients died due to measles; owing to a lack of awareness, people go for traditional remedies until the measles patient’s condition deteriorates. Complications caused during such treatment exposes the patient to meningitis, pneumonia, encephalitis and other such diseases making it very hard for doctors to save the patient’s life,” he argued.Dr Hussain, who also heads the Sujawal district’s expanded programme for immunisation (EPI) said, that 83pc BCG (Bacillus Calmate Guirien) and 78pc of Penta-III vaccination against measles had been carried out in the first two months of this year to cover more than 7,000 children aged nine months to five years.

DHO and EPI chief of Thatta district Dr Khuda Bux Memon responding to Dawn’s queries also denied that any of the eight deaths was from measles but confirmed that a large number of children with measles were being brought to the Makli hospital and other health facilities in the district.

Thatta DSV (district superintendent vaccination) Mumtaz Halo put the number of such patients reported at various government and private health facilities till Saturday evening at 114.

Activists of various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the health sector speaking to this reporter apprehended that health officials were not sharing the actual figures of measles cases in both districts which might be much higher. They were of the view that immediate and coordinated measures should be taken to save more lives and prevent the disease from becoming an outbreak.

Our correspondent in Dadu Qurban Ali Khushik adds: Four measles patients died at different government and private health facilities of Dadu district while around 40 others remained under treatment.The children, who reportedly died on Saturday, were identified as Murak Bhand, 3, Mehboob Birhmani, 6, Samina Gabol, 5, and seven-month-old Fayyaz Jalbani.

Reports from Jamshoro suggested that 30 measles patients were taken to various government and private health facilities in the district.

Families of patients complained of unavailability of anti-measles vaccine and other medicines at government health facilities.

Civil surgeon at Dadu Civil Hospital Dr Abdul Razzak Junejo said that a sharp increase in measles cases during extremely hot weather condition was a normal phenomenon. He said adequate stock of anti-measles vaccine was available at the hospital for free of cost treatment.

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