Lahore: Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique has said that Punjab government, senior health authorities and experts are keeping a watchful eye on measles situation and necessary arrangements have been made for controlling the disease as well as treatment of patients in the hospitals. He said that due to timely measures of the government, measles has started receding.
He was addressing a press conference on latest situation of measles outbreak at the committee room of health department, here today. Special Secretary Health Babar Hayat Tarrar, Director General Health Dr. Nisar Ahmad Cheema, Additional Secretary Health (Estt) Asfandyar Khan, Provincial Chief of UNICEF Dr. Rana Mushtaq and Director EPI Dr. Tanvir Hussain were also present on the occasion. Khawaja Salman Rafique informed that 2971 cases of measles have been reported in the province since December 2012. He said that guidelines have been given to all the hospitals and district offices of health department for controlling measles and treatment of the patients. He said that the meetings of steering committee comprising pediatrician are being held on regular basis. He informed that reports of provincial monitors posted in all districts have also given reports and some weaknesses have been detected which have been redressed. He made it clear that action under the law will be taken against any officer found guilty of negligence in controlling measles.
Director General Health Dr. Nisar Ahmad Cheema said that MMR injection has not been approved by WHO for Pakistan and as soon as recommendation is made by WHO this injection will also be included in the EPI programme. Khawaja Salman Rafique said that the parents are being advised through print and electronic media as well as Lady Health Workers at community levels will ensure that their miner children get vaccinated. He said that children from six months to ten years of age are being vaccinated under mop up campaign in the areas from where measles cases are reported. In reply to a question, Khawaja Salman Rafique said that Punjab government has taken record development work in the health sector. He said that Rawalpindi Instittute of Cardialogy constructed at a cost of Rs.3 billion has started functioning while 410-bed hospital built in Bahawalpur with a sum of billions of rupees will become functional by February 11. Similarly, he said 200-bed Shahdra hospital will also become operational during the current month. Replying to another question about hunger strike of young doctors, Khawaja Salman Rafique said that Punjab government is concerned over the hunger strike by a group of young doctors and the provincial government has been in constant contact with these doctors since the Gujranwala incident. However, he said that the government is still ready for negotiation with young doctors but they should accept their mistakes in Gujranwala incident so that matters could be improved. Commenting on the claim of young doctors that they are fighting for the rights of poor patients, Khawaja Salman Rafique said that when these doctors went on complete strike for 37 days for their service structure and poor patients died due to non-availability of treatment why these doctors did not have this idea. He said that doctors who occupied MS office and misbehaved with their seniors should remember that they are being paid from the taxes of the masses. He said that some PPP leaders are criticizing with doctors in the strike camps but the treatment being meted out to the doctors in three provinces where is PPP in power is no secret.
Provincial Chief UNICEF Dr. Rana Mushtaq said that physically weak children are more prone to measles. He appreciated the measures taken by Punjab government for controlling measles and said that due to these steps the situation like Sindh has not arisen.