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Two more victims of anti-measles vaccine report at Nawabshah hospital.

NAWABSHAH -- Two more children, who were administered anti-measles vaccine a couple of days before, were brought to Peoples University Hospital (PUH) in critical condition on Sunday evening.

The children Abdul Samad Siyal, 18 months, and Mansab Siyal, two years, were admitted to the hospital's paediatrics unit.

Though their condition was stable now they were still being observed closely, said Prof Dr Ali Akbar Siyal, head of the paediatrics unit.

Three children had died and as many had been hospitalised in serious condition a day ago reportedly after being administered expired anti-measles vaccines on Saturday.

Asked about failure to get the autopsy of the children done, Dr Mujtaba Memon, district health officer of Shaheed Benazirabad, said that the heirs did not agree to the post-mortem. They were relying on reports of Aga Khan University Hospital where the other three children were shifted in critical condition on Sunday, he said.

Shaheed Benazirabad Deputy CommisAsioner Nauman Siddiq Latki said the vaccine samples had been collected and sent to Karachi and Lahore for examination. Their reports were expected to arrive within a couple of days, he said.

The officer said that they tried their best to convince the heirs of the deceased children to have autopsy conducted but they did not agree to it. Besides, the situation had become so tense that the post-mortem could not have been carried out without their consent, he said.

A senior health official who requested not be named said it was the responsibility of the hospital administration to ensure that the post-mortem was conducted.

It would not be possible now to ascertain the cause of their death, he said. He said that lady health workers were not supposed to keep vaccines in their purse as it could affect the drug's efficacy and it showed overall laxity by vaccinators' teams in abiding by set procedures.

It was alarming that a teaching hospital of a medical university which claimed to have state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratories was unable to find causes of deaths due to administration of anti-measles vaccine and the entire team was relying on reports of a private hospital, he said.

The health department had not yet taken any action against the officials responsible for primary health and prevention of diseases nor any case had been lodged, he said.

Meanwhile, Sindh health department has formed a seven-member committee to probe the deaths and severe illness of children in Shaheed Benazirabad district reportedly after administration of anti-measles vaccine.

The committee to be headed by provincial immunisation officer of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Waqar Soomro, comprises head of paediatrics unit at PUH, Dr Ali Akbar Siyal; WHO divisional surveillance officer, Dr Abdul Wahid Bhurt; provincial disease surveillance response unit, FELTP Dr Naveed Ahmed Memon; deputy project director EPI Sindh Dr Sohail Bin Saeed, acting district health officer Benazirabad Dr Mujtaba Memon and EVM coordinator and cold chain specialist Fahad Fahmi.

According to terms of reference, the committee was to probe the deaths of children, find causes and submit report to the health department within 24 hours.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 6, 2018
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