Measles onslaught continues despite yearlong campaign
By Abdul Manan
LAHORE: Measles is steadily increasing in the country, despite efforts by the Pakistani government, World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF to control the disease, revealed a data collected by Daily Times.
WHO and UNICEF launched an anti-measles campaign in the country on March 2007. The campaign targeted to immunise at least 64 million children countrywide. The last phase of the campaign ended on April 3, 2008.
The data collected from the city’s hospital, however, revealed that the disease was still spreading and affecting more people. On average, in 2007 about 70 children were admitted to hospitals with measles per day. The number has now jumped to 100 patients a day in 2008. About 25 patients with measles are admitted to Mayo Hospital, 20 in Services Hospital, 25 to Children Hospital and 30 to private hospitals per day.
According to WHO, more than one million cases of measles are registered annually in Pakistan and about 21,000 children die because of the disease.
Executive District Officer (Health) Dr Inamul Haq said that about 3.2 million children were injected in the city during the campaign. “The fruits of the campaign will be evident after a year. Measles is the leading cause of death, and about 27 children die every hour across the globe because of it,” he said.
Dr Mimpal Singh, a child specialist, said that the disease was caused by a virus that spread through airborne droplets. “There is 90 percent chance that a person not immunised against the disease will be affected by it,” he said and added that immunisation was indispensable to fight the disease.