SPECIAL Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister on 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.
He expressed these views while talking to media representatives after a high level meeting to review measles situation prevailing in the province, according to a handout here on Monday. 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, 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 officers of Health Department.
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 Organistion (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.
Salman Rafique said that it has been decided to launch an effective social mobilisation campaign through media to 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 Secretary Health Arif Nadeem is approaching the Chief Secretary Punjab.
He said that routine immunisation is being made more effective to ensure the eradication of measles virus among the children. He said 1,476 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 1,200,000 anti-measles doses, while 2,000,000 doses are being procured through UNICEF, for which a payment of Rs 243,700,000 has been made. He hoped that the stock of purchase doses would reach within the next two weeks.