A national measles eradication drive was launched on Monday that aims to inject 32 million children across the country. Measles remains a leading cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
A World Health Organization report states that there were 2,845 cases of measles in the country in 2016. This rose by a significant 128 percent to 6,494 cases the following year.
In the 12-day drive, 21 million children will be vaccinated in the age bracket of six months to seven years in Punjab. 15,000 teams of the Punjab Health Department have been deputed in all areas of the province and social mobilizers have also been trained to go from door-to-door to motivate parents to get their children vaccinated.
In a message issued on Sunday, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid appealed to parents, teachers, civil society and ulema to come forward and strengthen the hands of the government in this national cause and make future of our children safer.
All districts have also been provided with injections, syringes and the necessary vaccines for this purpose. Citizens can get any additional information regarding the anti-measles drive by calling the helpline at 0800-99-000.
The campaign in Sindh aims to vaccinate roughly 7.3 million children from nine months to five years in age.
About 900,000 children will be covered in the seven tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Meanwhile, the Expanded Program on Immunization in Pakistan has clarified that this is a supplementary dose of measles vaccine which is given as part of intensified service delivery to scale up the immunity level.
Measles is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system, immune system and skin that is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family. It is an airborne disease that is spread through contact with saliva or nasal secretions of infected people. Symptoms include fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and a skin rash made up of large, flat blotches.