SYED JAFAR ASKARI/ SAID ALAM KHAN
KARACHI/Peshawar - Sindh and KP governments are ready to launch a two-week long drive from today (Monday) against measles by vaccinating around 13.3 million children in Sindh and 9.6 million children of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Taking notice of increasing cases and deaths due to measles and polio in Karachi and other parts of Sindh , the Provincial Health Department will launch a twelve-day anti-polio and measles drive across Sindh including Karachi on Monday.
“Measles have devoured as many as 14 live in Sindh , while 13 deaths belong to Thatta District only. During the ongoing year 133 confirmed cases have been reported in Sindh . Last year the death toll of measles was 14 in the province. Around 13.3 million children will be vaccinated during the anti-polio and measles drive on account of Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI).” These views were expressed by Sindh Health Minister Dr Saghir Ahmed while speaking at a press conference held on Sunday.
“I requested every person of this province to help health workers and make sure the immunization process is completed, the minister urged. Children from six months to 10 years will be immunized from measles, he said.
“Earlier vaccines for six fatal diseases will be provided to government but now vaccines of three more diseases have also been added in routine immunization. After consultation with WHO these vaccines may be added for more diseases,” he said. 
Talking about international travelling, he said that the government realizes problems of Pakistani travelers; hence the government is trying to make the procedure easy. He said that traveling certificates can easily be obtained from any government hospital for free.
He said that pregnant women can also be administered with polio drops as WHO has certified that there is no health problem in provision of polio drops to pregnant women. The new health minster of MQM, who left the cabinet after political rift between PPP and MQM, said that he is trying to set priority taking notice on last health budget, which was Rs. 17 billion.
Peshawar - Keeping in view the record of measles cases, the KP province registered more than 10,000 suspected cases with 15 deaths last year, while the number of cases in 2014 is 3,666 with five deaths.
Health officials while talking to The Nation said that measles is on the rise in the province, as ratio of measles cases is increasing. Most of the children suffering from measles are from rural areas of the province. Health experts say measles spread rapidly and it could be stopped through vaccination only. In the drive, the target population of 9.6 million children including Afghan refugees between the age group of 6 months to 10 years would be covered, they informed.
This special measles campaign would cost Rs 1 billion, of which Rs 470 million would be provided by the provincial government while Rs 530 are donated by Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI), a partner organisation.
The officials said that polio campaign would also be held along with measles drive. As part of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), measles should be eradicated from the country by 2015.
In this special campaign, besides health centres, camps have also been set up at different places. In addition, children would also be administered vaccine in schools.
The concerned deputy commissioners would lead the campaign in their respective districts. In order to vaccine children coming from tribal areas, some 179 vaccination points have been set up, the officials concluded.