Lahore: Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab for Health Khawaja Salman Rafique has said that with regard to measles outbreak, the situation in Punjab is not like that prevailing in the Sindh province. However, the Special Assistant pointed out that Punjab government has taken all necessary effective steps to ensure medical care of patients and to stop further spread of the disease. He said mop up campaign in the affected areas, in accordance with the guideline of World Health Organization (WHO) is continuing in the areas from where measles cases are being reported. He said that under this campaign, preventive vaccination is being carried out for children belonging to age groups of six months to ten years.
He expressed these views while talking to media representatives after a prevailing in the province. The meeting was attended by Secretary Health Punjab Arif Nadeem, Director General Health Punjab Dr. Nisar Ahmed Cheema, Director EPI Dr. Tanvir Hussain, Additional Director General Health Vector Born Disease, Dr. Jaffar Ilyas, Dr. Babar Alam of WHO, Mushtaq Rana of UNICEF, Prof. Tahir Masood of Dean Institute of Child Health/Children Hospital, Prof. Dr. Ashraf Sultan professor of Pediatrics of King Edward University, Prof. Tariq Bhutta, Dr. Akhtar Rashid Malik Provincial Coordinator of Lady Health Worker Programme as well as concerned officers of Health Department.
Khawaja Salman Rafique informed that it has been decided to launched an effective social mobilization campaign through media in order apprise parents about the importance of preventive vaccination against measles for their children. He said at the district level, DCOs are being given the responsibility of surveillance of measles disease, preventive vaccination of children and monitoring of case reporting, and, in this connation, Secretary Health Arif Nadeem is approaching the Chief Secretary Punjab.
Khawaja Salman Rafique further informed that routine immunization is being made more effective to ensure the eradication of measles virus among the children. He said that as many as 1476 measles cases have been reported during the current year in Punjab, whereas seven suspected deaths have occurred, one each at Gujranwala and Kasur, while five have been reported at Rajanpur. He said that the Health Department has a stock of more than 12 lakh anti-measles dozes, while 20 lakh dozes are being procured through UNICEF, for which a payment of Rs. 24 crore and 37 lakh has been made. He hoped that the stock of purchase dozes would reach within the next two weeks.
Khawaja Salman Rafique asserted that no dereliction of duty would be tolerated with regard to stopping the spread of measles disease and case reporting, whereas strict legal action would also be initiated against the responsible EDO Health. Khawaja Salman Rafique hoped that the Health Department, in collaboration with all other stake holders the spread of measles would be stopped successfully. He also appreciated the role of media regarding timely reporting and creating awareness among the general public about the measles outbreak.