KARACHI, Jan 1: Around 195 new measles cases and two deaths were reported on the first day of 2013, according to directer public health, Sindh, Dr Masood Solangi. Talking to Dawn on Tuesday, he said that during the past two days around 318,850 children between the ages of nine months and 10 years had been vaccinated in eight districts, Sukkur, Ghotki, Kashmore- Kandhot, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Larkana, Khairpur, Shikarpur and Jacobabad.

Meanwhile, while discussing a consolidated report on measles-related deaths in the province with senior health officials on Tuesday, Sindh health minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed said that 210 children had lost their lives last year in 15 districts of Sindh, including Karachi.

He stressed the need for making all-out efforts to cover the target population in eight districts — from where 81 deaths had been reported in 2012 — by special measles vaccination campaigns launched on Dec 31, 2012. According to the report, there were no measles-related deaths in January but the number of deaths fluctuated in a wave-like pattern in the following months. Three deaths were reported in February, five in March, nine in April, 11 in May, 14 in June, six in July, 10 in August 10, three in September, 18 in October 18, 38 in November 38 and 93 children’s deaths were reported in December 2012.

The report stated that the most number of deaths, 33, were reported from Sukkur district, followed by 32 from Shikarpur, 22 from Larkana, 21 from Kambar-Shahdadkot, 19 from Dadu, 16 from Khairpur, 15 from Karachi, 13 from Jacobabad, 12 from, Ghotki, and the least number of deaths, eight, were reported from the Kashmore-Kandhkot district.

The health minister clarified that the statistics released by the World Health Organisation were for all of 2012, not just December 2012.

He confirmed that five health officers had been suspended for alleged negligence during the ongoing anti-measles vaccination campaign.

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