More children succumb to pneumonia in Punjab

Published February 19, 2024
A doctor treats a child suffering from pneumonia, at the ICU ward of the Children’s Hospital in Lahore on January 31. — AFP
A doctor treats a child suffering from pneumonia, at the ICU ward of the Children’s Hospital in Lahore on January 31. — AFP

LAHORE/BAHAWALPUR: Pneumonia continues to play havoc with under 10 children as 13 more minors succumbed to the deadly virusduring the last 24 hours in Punjab, taking the total number of fatalities to 392 across the province since Jan 1.

The persistent rise of pneumonia-related casualties in the children has not only created panic among the parents but also exposed the caretaker Punjab government and the health authorities as no one bothered to take emergent measures to prevent the high number of deaths in last six weeks.

The Young Doctors Association, Punjab, has been raising the issues of pneumonia deaths and non-provision of medicines to the poor patients at the hospitals at a time when the caretaker government launched Rs90-billion projects for the upgrade of emergency and other blocks of major government teaching institutes in Lahore.An official said that the ongoing lethal wave of pneumonia-related deaths has taken an ugly turn despite decrease in intensity of cold.

He said 622 new cases of pneumonia were reported during the last 24 hours in Punjab, an alarmingly high number which has shaken the health and medical community.

Toll rises to 392 since Jan 1: medics say insufficient oxygen, medicines caused deaths, slam simultaneous upgrade of emergencies

Of them, 131 were reported from Lahore, he said, adding that the total number of pneumonia cases in Punjab reached 6,190 so far since Jan 1.He said hundreds of children, mostly under five, were reaching government and private hospitals with severe chest infections.

The official lamented that all the emergency wards of Lahore’s major teaching hospitals have been closed down in the name of renovation work on the order of the caretaker chief minister.

He said the launch of upgrade work at all hospitals simultaneously brought misery for patients as they were treated in corridors, greenbelts or in store rooms.In Bahawalpur, pneumonia claimed the lives of three more infants at the paeds ward of the Bahawal Victoria Hospital (BVH) on Sunday.

BVH Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Aamir Mahmood Bokhari told Dawn that the death of the three occurred within the last 24 hours.

Sources said the number of deaths of children at the BVH due to pneumonia has risen to 41 during the current winter.

Dawn learnt that 20 more infants with pneumonia attack have been admitted to the BVH during the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, PMA’s Bahawalpur chapter president Dr Iftikhar Ahmd Bhatti has claimed that the main cause of deaths of children suffering from pneumonia was duo to scarcity of oxygen at the hospital.

He urged the BVH administration to press the supplier of oxygen gas to increase regular supply to the hospital in view of emergency cases.

Like other parts of the country, Bahawalpur also remained in the grip of severe cold for over a month which spiked pneumonia infections.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2024

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