This is in reference to the report regarding measles outbreak in Fata, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan (May 20). The measles outbreak in Fata, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan is no doubt a matter of great concern.
According to media reports, it has so far killed 12 children and the virus is set to affect more children in the region.
This is to inform the public that the ministry of inter-provincial coordination has recently held a meeting of National Steering Committee in which this matter has been taken up with great concern by the Federal Minister for inter-provincial coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani. The Federal Minister, who is on an official visit to Geneva to attend the 65th World Health Assembly organised by WHO, has directed the officials of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) to enhance routine immunisation and make prolific efforts to tackle measles outbreak in the country.
In response to the report of ‘loopholes’ in the vaccination campaign, there is no such loophole in the campaign. The campaign is faced with several obstacles.
Actually, the region where the measles outbreak has been reported is a war-torn area. The ongoing fight in the region has been constantly hindering the vaccination campaign.
In addition, power outages and curfews are making it more difficult to carry out vaccination. Besides, there seems to be a campaign going on through private radio to spread misconception about the vaccination that the international community is injecting infidelity in the children of the tribal areas in the name of vaccination.
As regards the serious differences between the federal government and the provincial ones over the purchase of vaccines for measles and other diseases, the provinces are at absolute liberty to purchase vaccines for the above mentioned diseases.
Lastly, the question of maintenance of cold chain for vaccines does not arise as ice-lined refrigerators are available in the nearby headquarters.
PIR SULEMAN SHAH RASHDI Islamabad