Measles continues to take its toll on children of Tando Allahyar village

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HYDERABAD: Three more children died from measles complications in Tando Allahyar on 29 April, where the disease had claimed lives of five children on April 26, prompting departmental inquiry and action against officials concerned.

A team of officials of Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) has arrived in Tando Allahyar from Karachi to conduct the inquiries, which led to action against three vaccinators and focal person.

The team led by Dr Sohail Shaikh, additional project director for EPI, visited Chandro Meo Rajput village where the five deaths had occurred, met bereaved family members and officials of administration and health.

The team found vaccinators Mohammad Soomar of DHO Tando Allahyar, Mohammad Usman and Nasir Bajwa of basic health unit (BHU) Dhingano Bozdar responsible and their services were hence suspended by DHO Dr Ibrahim Parhyar.

The DHO said that health authorities would also take action against focal person and necessary correspondence was being done in this regard.

He told Dawn that three children including seven-year-old Iqra, daughter of Ashraf, four-year-old Ashiq, son of Ashraf, and Ashfaq, 10, son of Ashraf, were residents of Iqbal Colony in Latifabad unit-12.

A departmental inquiry was being recommended by DHO against focal person for EPI, Dr Jai Parkash, since he was a BS-19 officer, according to Tando Allahyar Deputy Commissioner, Saleemullah Odho.

Dr Sohail Shaikh said that that negligence by focal person for EPI in the district and vaccinators was quite evident. The ailing children were brought to the facility belatedly and were not diagnosed for measles complications in time, he said.

`There are reports that children had not even been vaccinated,` nor were they isolated as required in such cases after having been affected by measles and they were rather they allowed to mingle with other children on the eve of Eidul Fitr, he said.

EPI`s PD Dr Naeem Rajput said answering a question over phone from Karachi, that nutrition deficiency was reported among children in the affected village. There was no intensive care unit at Tando Allahyar district headquarters hospital, he said.

The DC said that when he asked EPI focal person and staff to share three months plan for measles they could not produce it. Three children whose deaths were reported in first phase lived in Hyderabad but Chandro Meo Rajput village was their native area, he said.

Meanwhile, Atif son of Asif, died in Liaquat University Hospital (LUH) Hyderabad, taking the toll to six. He was put on ventilator in view of his critical condition. Atif had to be shifted to LUH under DC`s advice two days back.

Two more deaths of children were reported from Tando Allahyar.

Local reporters said that three year-old Younus Mallah, a resident of Bukera, and a year old Azam Rajar, a resident of Bashir Memon village, died of measles. Their deaths had not been confirmed yet.

Nine-month-old Mubashira daughter of Rafiq of the same family from the Chandro Meo village was admitted to district hospital.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 30th April 2024.
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