THATTA: Measles stalked and hunted down three more children as the government made a belated admission of children’s deaths from the infectious disease in Sujawal and Thatta districts and announced on Monday a 12-day campaign (May 19 to 31) in the entire province for vaccination against measles.

With the latest casualties, the death toll of children has reached 61 since its outbreak over a month ago. However, the district health officer for Sujawal and Thatta districts, Zahoor Ahmad Memon, stuck to the figure of 48 deaths at a press conference at the DHO office.

Babu Kandra, a social activist, and others who confirmed the recent causalities told Dawn that Ali Raza Thaheem, 4, in Faiz Mohammad Thaheem village, Sameena Mallah, 6, in Jati town and a daughter of Ramzan Zour whose name could not be ascertained in Lal Bux Zour village died of measles.

DHO Dr Zahoor Memon said that mobile teams of the health department would visit all villages in the two districts to get children aged six months to 10 years vaccinated against the disease.

The villagers could also visit fixed vaccination centres set up at almost all the government health facilities in both the districts, he said, while advising parents to cooperate with vaccinators.

He said that some 455,976 children aged six months to 10 years in 55 union councils would be vaccinated during the campaign. Under the schedule, the DHO said, 62 teams would remain at fixed centers, 189 teams at outreach centers and 15 mobile teams would go door to door under the supervision of health department doctors, revenue coordinators and representatives of WHO and UNICEF, he said.

Dr Memon urged the officers and teachers of education department to help create awareness about the disease from Tuesday 13 to May 31st by sensitising students to the disease during morning assemblies and convey the message to far flung villages so that no child missed out on vaccination.

He suggested that payer leaders should also be asked to create awareness about importance of vaccination and convince villagers to get rid of the infectious disease by getting their children inoculated.

He appealed to members of civil society and political and social activists to come forward and deliver their moral duty by extending a helping hand in the campaign.